Feb 042016
 

I’m still alive!  It’s been a while since I posted, but I am indeed still a sewing blogger, despite appearances to the contrary.  I am quite behind in posting things I’ve made, though, so I’m going to combine two more of my beloved shirt dresses.  In both photos I’m wearing sandals because I took these photos sooooo long ago that it was still warm.  We did have a very warm fall, so it wasn’t quite as long ago as it might seem, but it hasn’t been sandal weather here for a while.  Taking blog photos is my least favorite thing about sewing, so you don’t get any pictures me of wearing these two dresses like I’ve been wearing them for the past few months: with boots and a cardigan.

First up is my 6696 kitty cats shirtdress:
cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-front

It’s not without its faults, but I love it so because the kitty cats are so adorable!  The teeny tiny one on the bottom left with its tiny head cocked to the side is my very favorite.

cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-detail

The fabric is canvas from Cotton and Steel.  Canvas is perhaps not the very best choice for a shirtdress, but I actually like the heft of this fabric.  The only problem is that the stiffness of the fabric exacerbates the issue I’ve had with the collar on McCall’s 6696, which is that it’s enormously huge on me.  I keep shaving off height from the neck, collar stand, and collar, and it’s never quite enough.  I wasn’t sure what I should do next, but I had a revelation a few days ago when I read Beth’s post about a silk blouse she made, in which the top plackets don’t meet in the middle; they subtly veer away from each other to form a sort of v-neck.  I think that’s what I need in addition to all the collar-shrinking I’ve been doing.  I never button anything up all the way to the neck, so it won’t cause any problems for the center front to not meet up at the neck.  I’m going to give it a try on my next 6696!

cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-too-big-collar

Side view!  More cats!
cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-side

Back view!  Even more cats!

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The other problem with this dress is that the sleeves really restrict my range of motion, which is a problem when I’m teaching because I need to write on the board.  Not sure what to do about this one either, but I’m not too worried about it because I don’t have a lot of plans for sleeves on dresses.  I generally like to avoid sleeves because they make it harder to wear cardigans with dresses.  For some reason, I kept envisioning this kitty dress with sleeves, though.  It caused me no end of trouble because I didn’t even have enough fabric to make the dress without sleeves, and then when I ordered more, it was from a different dye lot or something because it was quite noticeably a different color.  I ended up using the different-colored fabric for parts that wouldn’t be visible: the under collar, the placket that isn’t visible, the pockets, the inside yoke, and the waistband facing.  I also had to piece the upper collar to make it work, but you can hardly tell.

cotton-and-steel-hatbox-tiger-stripes-canvas-mccalls-6696-side-stretch

Next up: denim 6696.  (Forgive the wrinkles and sudden changes in brightness; I’d worn the dress all day when I took these photos and I was playing with the settings on my camera and apparently didn’t take a full set of pictures on any one setting.)

mccalls-6696-waxed-denim-front

The idea for this one came from Fiona, who made a lovely denim 6696 a while back.  I initially bought this denim from Emma One Sock for a jean jacket, but when it came it was shinier than I’d envisioned, even though it was called “waxed” denim and I knew it would be somewhat shiny.  It just didn’t seem right for the kind of jean jacket I wanted, but when I saw Fiona’s dress, this denim suddenly seemed perfect for a dress.  It’s lighter than regular denim and has slightly better drape.  It seems like tons of people have made things in denim with red topstitching, so I hopped on that bandwagon as well, and I love it.  I haven’t worn much red in recent years, mostly because red and black used to be my uniform so it consequently seems a little boring these days.  But I’ve enjoyed wearing red again, and I especially like how this dress looks with a red cardigan I bought expressly for the purpose of wearing with this dress, and which I’ve helpfully not photographed for you.  Trust me when I say that there’s a reason I wore red to death a few years ago, though: it goes well with my dark hair!

mccalls-6696-waxed-denim-back

As my love for the Belladone suggests, I love a good back cutout.  The idea for this one came from Pinterest, where someone had pinned a vintage dress from Etsy.  The dress has long since sold, but here’s the inspiration picture:

Screenshot 2016-01-24 19.37.47

Here’s a side view for completion’s sake.  You can see in these various photos how the denim is dark but has a sheen to it; the color of the denim in the first picture is true.  It looks lighter in the second two photos, which isn’t really what it looks like in real life, but it does have a sheen that I think is more apparent in the lighter photos.  You can also see that I used a different kind of pocket on this one.  I thought side-seam pockets in this denim would be too bulky, so I used the pocket pattern from the Belladone dress.  That pattern is the gift that keeps on giving, I’m telling you.  mccalls-6696-waxed-denim-side

This denim dress actually drove me nuts during construction; I couldn’t get the bodice to match up with the waistband correctly, and it’s actually off center.  If you look closely, you can see that it’s a little bigger on the left side (my left/your right) than it is on the right.  Whatever.  At least I finished it, and I really like it!  And it gets a lot of compliments, so I think the pretty red topstitching and buttons are distracting enough for people to not notice.

With those two dresses out of the way, I’m caught up on things I’ve photographed.  I have some things that need to get photographed, and I’ve finished up my epic winter coat, which will call for its own epic photo session with my new camera whenever it next snows.  Yes, readers, it’s true: I plan to go outside for photos.  I also have a super boring year-in-review post that I’ll post soon, but it won’t be very interesting because it will talk about a bunch of stuff I made but never photographed.  :/

 

 

Sep 052015
 

I’m so behind in blogging dresses that I’m going to have to start doubling up!  This should not be difficult because this year is the year of repeat patterns – especially McCall’s 6696.  Unsurprisingly, I have two versions of McCall’s 6696 to show you today, both made in the seven-dress frenzy of summer ’15.  One is made out of Liberty tana lawn, and the other is made out of my beloved Art Gallery voile.

First up, my third version of McCall’s 6696, made out of Liberty lawn.  This one is a little different.  To make it seem like I’m not just sewing the same exact dress over and over again, I modified this one to only button down halfway, like Mary did here.  The skirt and waistband are solid in front.

My first set of photos for this dress were so washed out!  It was really frustrating.  I tried closing the blinds in the room where I was taking them, but it didn’t help at all.  I gave up and figured I’d just apologize when I blogged this dress.

liberty-mary-jean-c-mccalls-6696-front

But then I did a big photo session for some newer dresses and was having the same problem.  This time, I was taking the pictures pretty late in the day and not in direct sunlight, so I decided it might be a good time to actually use some of the manual settings on my camera so I’d have a fighting chance of getting decent pictures.  I increased the f-stop number to make the pictures look less washed out, and I was surprised how much more like myself I looked!  I always look so washed out in the photographs and like my skin glows white, but it really doesn’t.  I re-took the pictures for this dress, and it’s so much better.  Now I look more like me and you can see the print on this beautiful Liberty fabric much better!

I also got new glasses in between the first photo and the second.  They’re apparently not as fabulous at reducing glare as my old glasses

liberty-mary-jean-c-mccalls-6696-front

Side view!  I really don’t understand camera settings, which is why the photo below is partially blurry.  I thought increasing the f-stop number would decrease the shutter speed, which is what would let less light through the lens, but that is apparently wrong because the shutter was noticeably slower and I kept moving before it was done.  I didn’t notice all the blurry spots until I uploaded the pictures, so you’ll have to bear with me as I figure out what a camera is and how to use it!

liberty-mary-jean-c-mccalls-6696-side

More blurriness with a back view.
liberty-mary-jean-c-mccalls-6696-back

More buttons from the lovely Soutache.  These are the same buttons I used on my Liberty Alder, just in a different color.  I love them, but if there’s any strain at all on the buttons, they want to slide through the buttonhole and pop open!  I never need to unbutton these buttons to put the dress on, so I just handstitched the two plackets together.liberty-mary-jean-c-mccalls-6696-detail

Next up, my Art Gallery voile 6696.  This one buttons all the way down, but I used a gathered skirt instead of the pleated skirt, again, to give some minimal sense of variety to these dresses.  Now that I’ve sewn up and worn my two pieces of Liberty fabric quite a bit, I feel like it’s definitely much better than quilting cotton, but not as good as these Art Gallery voiles.  They are smoother and come out of the washer (if I’m hanging them to dry) or the dryer (if I don’t have hanging space or time to let them hang) wrinkle-free, while my Liberties always get all crinkly in certain spots and it’s nearly impossible to iron the crinkles out.

flowered-engrams-voile-mccalls-6696-frontThis particular print is designed by Katarina Roccella and it’s called Flowered Engrams in Ornate.  I LOVE it so much!  I think it’s my favorite out of all the Art Gallery voiles I got this summer.  I’ve wanted a larger scale floral dress for a while, but I have trouble finding prints that don’t look grandmotherly to me.  I love the colors in this one, and as you’ll see better below, the flowers have a blocky, pixelated look to them, which I think makes the print look much more modern than lots of other large-scale florals.flowered-engrams-voile-mccalls-6696-sideA back view for journalistic integrity.  I had no idea that I’d apparently cut my waistband with the flowers almost-but-not-quite matching the bodice.  I didn’t even realize it until I saw this picture!  It looks sort of strange, which makes me think a belt would be a good idea for this dress.  I’ve already worn it like a billion times without one, though, so whoops!flowered-engrams-voile-mccalls-6696-backHere you can see the print a bit better, along with my square buttons, which delight me because they echo the pixelated nature of the print.  They’re nothing fancy, just from Joann.  Every time I’m looking for a teal button, these are the closest thing they have at Joann, and they never match.  I was excited that they actually matched this dress since they’re perfect for it!flowered-engrams-voile-mccalls-6696-button-detail-closeupI finally remembered to use a tip from this Grainline tutorial for getting flat bias binding, which is understitching.  It works pretty well!  I used premade bias binding because I hate making my own, and that makes it a little more difficult to get a perfect finish because it’s so stiff, but I’ve definitely been getting the best finishes I’ve ever had now that I’m understitching.

flowered-engrams-voile-mccalls-6696-binding

That’s it for today!  I still have six dresses I’ve made that I have yet to blog, and they’re all pretty much summer dresses, so I have to get my act together!  I’ve just been so busy lately – probably the busiest I’ve ever been in my life.  I’ve been a TA for the past six years at UIC, where I’m doing my Ph.D.  I’m still teaching two classes there this semester , but I’m also teaching two classes at another school.  Remember my interview suit?  Well, I didn’t get that job, which was at a community college, and I heard through the grapevine of a friend who works there that it was, at least in part, because I didn’t have any community college teaching experience.  So I decided to teach part time at a community college to get some experience.  It’s difficult to get a full time job, but it’s ridiculously easy to get a part time job.  My interview for the part-time place was barely an interview, and I was told I had the job like 20 minutes into it.  So they hired me to teach two composition classes, and I discovered when I looked up my rosters that I’d have 32 students in each one.  Our course limit for composition at UIC is 24, and most of us feel like that’s too many.  32?!  I was horrified.  And I continue to be horrified every time I have to spend hours upon hours reading their homework or commenting on their papers.  Plus I have more than the normal number of students at UIC for convoluted reasons having to do with the fact that one of my classes this semester isn’t a comp class.  So in total I have somewhere between 120-130 students (some of them have a lot of absences already and might end up dropping), which is the most I’ve ever had, even though I taught four classes one semester when I was an adjunct in between my MA and Ph.D.  I only had 85 that semester.  I’m behind in everything in my life except teaching, and I feel like I’m always either prepping for class, reading homework, commenting on papers, or actually traveling to or being at one of the two schools.  This semester may actually kill me.  I’m hoping to take some time over this long Labor Day weekend to get ahead a bit on class prep, plus sew a little bit.  Plus I need to finish some last revisions on an article I’m sending to a journal.  There’s definitely no time for relaxing this weekend, which is what this holiday is all about!  Blergh.

Jul 132015
 

As I mentioned in my last post, I made seven dresses in like two weeks.  Today I’m going to talk about the second dress, or what is chronologically the first dress I completed.  This one is my second version of McCall’s 6696.  When I made my wearable muslin, I knew I wanted to make two more versions of this dress; one is the one below, out of Art Gallery voile, and the second is a recently completed version with sleeves made from Cotton and Steel tiger print canvas (you can sort of see it behind me in the photos below).  I began this dress in late April at a Chicago-area sewing event, but then I didn’t get to work on it again for a while because I was busy sewing nine gazillion things for my niece.

katarina-roccella-indelible-floret-voile-mccalls-6696-front

I’ve gained some weight since my wearable muslin, so I very unscientifically added some extra fabric to all the seam allowances below the bust (my bust size has remained the same).  The dress turned out a bit too big, but I decided I actually liked it that way.  It was very breezy and perfect for summer weather.  The first day I wore it I had several revelations:  1.  dresses that are slightly too big are pretty comfy, so maybe I should cool it on the fitting quests; 2.  Art Gallery voile is amazingly soft and cool in the heat; 3.  allover printed voile on a dark base is the perfect summer fabric because it makes it possible to not need a lining or slip with this very lightweight fabric.  I took action on these revelations by buying a pile of allover printed voiles on dark bases and proceeding to sew them up into breezy summer dresses (see:  seven dresses in a few weeks).  Unfortunately the universe has not shared in my awe at these revelations and has not sent me much summery weather in which to enjoy my new breezy dresses.  I’ve been wearing cardigans with them most days.

katarina-roccella-indelible-floret-voile-mccalls-6696-back

This particular voile is from Katarina Roccella’s Indelible line, and the color is Floret Stains in Mulberry.  I love it so much!  I seem to have a lot of fabrics in my stash in prints that I only sort of like, so I’ve been sewing up new prints almost immediately after I get them.  I’ve been trying to buy with a plan in mind rather than stashing in mind, which I guess is what I was doing for a while after I began sewing.  I have a few silks that I’m not sure I’ll ever sew up, so perhaps I should try to get rid of them somehow.  I wish my stash was smaller, but since I can’t seem to stop buying fabric, I’m at least trying to sew up more of it when I get it.

katarina-roccella-indelible-floret-voile-mccalls-6696-side

I tried a new technique on the collar, and it turned out to be a fail.  I usually use the ubiquitous method from Four Square Walls, but I read about a different collar method from Beth at Sunny Gal Studio that is supposed to solve the problem of the bulky seam allowance at the bottom of the collar stand.  I hate dealing with that seam allowance, so this seemed like a good method to try, but something about it just didn’t work with my brain.  I couldn’t get the curve of the collar stand or the part of the button band that meets the collar stand to look good no matter what I did.  What you see below is the best I could muster, so I’ve gone back to Andrea’s trusty method.  I don’t know why my topstitching doesn’t meet up in the photo below; I was probably fatigued and just gave up, but I should probably go back and fix that.

katarina-roccella-indelible-floret-voile-mccalls-6696-collar-detail

My buttons are vintage glass from Soutache in Chicago, which has quickly become my favorite place for buttons after my first visit this past spring. The buttons are more expensive than those at Joann’s, but they’re so worth it for the beauty and selection.  I love these buttons, which pick up on the coral flowers in the print.

katarina-roccella-indelible-floret-voile-mccalls-6696-button-detail

As you can see in the photo below, I remembered the pockets on this version of the dress!  I forgot them on the wearable muslin and I vowed to remember them for future versions.  I never used to like pockets because they add bulk in a place where I’d prefer not to have it, but I’ve become a fan because they are a great place to put your hands when you’re feeling awkward, which is 90% of the time for me.  I don’t like to carry things in dress pockets because they tend to distort the way dresses hang, but it does come in handy to have a pocket to throw something into when you need your hands free.  Last weekend we had a picnic for the fourth of July and it was great to have a place to put my phone and keys while I ran in and out of our apartment carrying food and everything else we needed.

katarina-roccella-indelible-floret-voile-mccalls-6696-front-2

You can see some pulling above the bust and I’ve tried to fix that in later versions but I’m not sure I succeeded.  I think it’s caused by excess fabric above the bust due to me not doing an FBA.  For subsequent versions I muslined a new bodice using a smaller size and doing an FBA, and it turned out much worse, which is generally what happens when I do FBAs.  I don’t know what I’m doing wrong, but FBAs seem to hate me.  I know I said I’d cool it on the fitting quests, but I would like to take care of that issue, so I’ll keep trying!

Jun 122015
 

Wow, it’s been over a month since I last posted!  I guess I shouldn’t be surprised; my sewing life hasn’t been what I’d hoped lately.  At the beginning of the month, Ben was out of town for a week because his job sent him to Connecticut, and I thought I’d just have a big one-person sewing party the entire time he was gone, but all kinds of stuff kept coming up, and I got next to nothing done.  As soon as he stepped off the plane, we headed to Ohio to visit family (literally:  I picked him up at the airport and we continued on down the highway).  I actually brought my new little sewing machine with me (I got a Pfaff Passport with some money I got from a teaching award I won at school – yay!) and sewed there, but it was two muslins for dresses for my mother and altering a bunch of her work scrubs for her.  She’s short like me so everything is always too long on her.  We came back with a child in tow, so that threw a wrench in any sewing plans I’d made for when I got back.  I think every time we visit Ohio, our niece Ashley asks if she can come back to Chicago with us, and we always tell her we’ll plan for her to visit some other time.  Well, we’ve lived here six years and we’ve never managed to plan for that other time, so we brought her home with us to stay for a week.  She stayed with us a few times before when we lived in Ohio, and it’s always a fun time, but the last time we did this she was 10 and now she’s 17.  I was worried that she would be too cool for school and would end up being miserable with boring old me and Ben.  It turns out that she may be a little too cool for school (she goes to a high school where she can take online classes instead of going in whenever she wants to, so she was supposed to be doing school work while she was with us but kept blowing it off), but I think she had a good time with us.  She’s already planning her next visit!  During prior visits we did crafty things and baked, so I told her this time I could teach her how to sew.  She was excited and started listing off all the things she wanted to make:  a bag, a dress, a skirt, a top.  This should have been my warning signal that I was about to be signed up to sew a whole new wardrobe.  However, I was wooed by the siren song of fabric shopping, so I merrily ferried her to Vogue and excitedly carried bolts and bolts of fabric up to the cutting table.  At some point I started to understand how much work I was in for, but if there’s one skill I have, it’s underestimating the amount of work things will require, so I plunked down my debit card and bought the pile of fabric you see below.

ashleys-fabric

As you can tell, Ashley has some wild taste!  She was obsessed with getting “tie dyes,” a category to which the batiks pictured apparently belong, plus animal prints, and anything else that caught her eye, which turned out to be a money print and a camo print.  She wanted the money, camo, pink batik, and green batik all for her bag, and I must admit I was giving her some serious side eye vis-a-vis this eclectic combo.  I’ll show you her bag later and you can be the judge of whether she was right or not, but for my part, I was converted.  I think her bag is super cute, and I shouldn’t have doubted her vision!

Below is just a quick illustration of the style differences we faced:  me, suited up for the elements on a cold, rainy night at Lake Michigan.  Ashley, wearing her most recently acquired bling, consequences be damned.  I could not understand how this child’s feet didn’t fall right off wearing those gladiator sandals, but even I must admit that they’re pretty awesome.

Gina and Ashley 2

We’d gone shopping downtown and when she spotted these at Akira, it was love at first sight.  They were on sale, so she called around to her various sources of shopping money until she gathered enough promises to pay me back if I would front her the money for the sandals.  We grabbed the shoes and continued on to my doctor’s appointment, whereupon she began Facebooking her loot in the waiting room, which is the source of the picture you see below.  They’re pretty cool, aren’t they?  My busted old lady feet need more arch support than that, but if I was healthy of foot and thin of calf, we might have been sporting matching gladiator sandals that day.

ashleys-shoes

But is this a sewing blog or a teen fashion report?  Well, today it’s both, but at least we can move on to the sewing part now.  First up, a skirt made of a knit remnant we found in Vogue’s massive pile of remnants.  Seriously, sometimes they have no remnants, and other times, you find all kinds of stuff, including some healthy-sized remnants of Bemberg lining and a very nice 2 yard piece of striped bamboo jersey that one might purchase for oneself as a reward for being such a great aunt.  As evidence of that unnamed individual’s greatness, I offer you exhibit A:  a skirt I “draped”, i.e., didn’t use a pattern for.  It has an elastic waist and is quite mini in length, though Ashley is short like me, so not as mini as it might appear here.  I zigzagged a little ribbon to the back waistband so she could tell the front from the back, and that’s pretty much all there is to tell about this one.
ashleys-skirt

Next up, her most prized item:  leather shorts.  They’re actually vinyl, but I didn’t let on.  When she saw the bolts of faux leather at Vogue, she stopped dead in her tracks and declared that she desperately wanted a pair of leather shorts.  Such a garment sounded incredibly uncomfortable to me, but her body, her clothes.  She assured me that her mother wouldn’t take issue with her wearing leather shorts (which I believe is true; Ben reports that even her Nonnie [his mom] approved of them when she got back to Ohio), and we bought a yard.

ashleys-shorts-front

I used Grainline’s Maritime shorts pattern, which I bought a long time ago after seeing some shorts I liked at LOFT in hopes of copying them.  I’ve since decided that I’m just not a shorts person, so the pattern has sat unused.  I was glad to be able to use it for something!  Ashley didn’t want front pockets, thank goodness, so these were fairly straightforward.  I did make a muslin out of stretch denim, and it turned out to be a wearable muslin because the fit was pretty right on after adding some darts on the back and taking in the sides a bit, so she also has a pair of denim shorts with lime green topstitching per her request, but I must have forgotten to get a picture of those.

I was briefly flummoxed by the fly insertion method because it’s so different than the method on the Ginger Jeans, but Jen has a tutorial that made everything perfectly clear to me.

In what would turn out to be a running theme, Ashley requested something that was more difficult than it sounded for her leather shorts – she wanted heart-shaped back pockets out of the pink batik fabric we bought for her bag.  I made them twice before I ended up at the right size you see here, and I just hope they last because that particular batik fabric has a very loose weave (I did interface to help with this issue).

ashleys-shorts-back

Next up we have a tank top that she requested based on a shirt we saw while shopping.  For this one, I used the slip pattern from McCall’s 6696 and just made a second layer that was half the length and a bit wider.  Because I ended up doing the bulk of the sewing after she was gone, I got out this old dressform to model some of the clothes, but I had to put a camisole on it and pad it out at the bust because it’s just shaped so stupidly.  It has those dials you can turn to increase the measurements, but it basically just makes the form wider at the bust instead of projected.  Anyway, that’s why you see another tank top right underneath this pink and purple one that I made, and it’s why you should just pretend it’s not there from now on.

I used pre-made double fold satin bias binding for the straps and I used my serger’s rolled hem for the edges.  Easy peasy, except for the intersections of the binding at the corners where things got very thick and difficult to sew.  I was an angry seamstress.  I think I might change the name of my blog to “The Angry Seamstress.”  Most of my sewing time consists of being angry at pins for poking me, being angry at my sewing machine for not doing what I told it to do, and being angry at everything for falling on the floor (seriously – I am the clumsiest person EVER).  I can frequently be found grumbling or exclaiming in frustration and sometimes even declaring that if clothes fit me from stores, I wouldn’t be sewing them!  I don’t understand the people who say they sew because it’s enjoyable and relaxing.  I like my hobbies to be frustrating and damaging to my self-esteem.  It’s why I’m a grad student.

ashleys-tank-top

This next picture is an inspiration photo she found for one of the dresses she wanted.  She wanted this out of a red and black knit, so I headed to my pattern collection to see what I could find.  I ended up using Simplicity 1610, which has a crossover halter neckline similar to the inspiration dress.  However, that pattern is for wovens.  I sized down two sizes in hopes of making it work for a knit.  I had to take it in even further, but I got it to work.  Ashley's Dress

And here it is.  The dressform is just so oddly shaped that it doesn’t look quite right, but I think it will look better on an actual human being.  The skirt on her inspiration photos appears to be a square circle skirt, which is like a circle skirt in that the waist is just a circle cut in the center of a large piece of fabric, but unlike it in that the large piece of fabric is a square rather than a circle.  I didn’t have enough fabric for that, so I just put a regular skirt on it and cut the bottom of it to mimic the shape of the square circle skirt.
simplicity-1610-frontsimplicity-1610-backThere’s elastic in a casing on the back bodice to keep it up, and the hem is just raw since this is an ITY knit that won’t ravel.

Finally, the first dress she wanted:  Papercut’s La Sylphide.  I had her look through my patterns before we went shopping, and this was her favorite.  It’s made out of a super shifty and super annoying polyester chiffon.  I am so pleased with how it turned out except for the mismatched skirt pieces.  Big sad face.  Being a genius, I cut them on a single layer because the fabric was shifty.  I thought I was taking great care to match them up, but as you can see, I didn’t match the wide pink stripe to the wide one and the narrow one to the narrow one.  They’re flipped.  I was so upset when I saw this because I didn’t have enough fabric to recut (I never have enough fabric to recut – I’m the queen of buying just enough fabric to squeak by).  I kept going, however, knowing that Ashley likely wouldn’t care.  While I was making her things during her visit I kept stopping to fix this or that and she would sigh exasperatedly and tell me she didn’t care about whatever it was that was stressing me out.  So I tried not to care about this mismatch.

papercut-la-sylphide-front

But look at how nice the back looks!  And yes, that fabric is pink, not orange.  It’s like a coral color, but it’s definitely more of pinky coral than an orangey one, despite what these photos would have you believe.papercut-la-sylphide-back

But look at how nice the back looks!  And yes, that fabric is pink, not orange.  It’s like a coral color, but it’s definitely more of pinky coral than an orangey one, despite what these photos would have you believe.

The final item I have to show you today is one Ashley made, not me – it’s her bag!  She had sewn a pillowcase before so she wasn’t entirely new to the idea of sewing.  She found an inspiration photo online and I worked out the necessary steps to get us there.  First I had her cut out a bunch of squares, then I had her interface them.  Then I realized we should have block fused them.  But I didn’t tell her that.  Then I had her sew together the nine patch squares, which I knew would end up being a little wonky because of her carefree attitude and lack of prior experience with piecing.  I like the wonky look so much that I wish we’d gone full-on wonky, which I think would have been awesome.  Next I had her cut diamond shapes out of her camo pieces and fray the edges of the holes that were left by using a pin to pull at the fabric.  Then I had her sew those squares on top of the money print squares, then sew the whole thing together.  She made a strap that’s money on one side and camo on the other and made a lining out of the money fabric, then I had her put it all together.  She did it all herself on my new Passport while I sewed on my regular machine.  I jumped in to fix a few small seam allowances that had gone astray, but this is mostly her own creation.  I really thought she was a bit addled when she picked out all these fabrics, but the end product is super cute in a funky sort of way.  ashleys-bag

And that’s that!  if you feel exhausted after reading all that, congratulations – now you know how I felt after sewing it all!  The eagle-eyed among you will notice that there’s a blue and white leopard print in the pile of fabric that doesn’t appear as a completed garment.  I just got a pattern for that one the other day based on some inspiration photos she sent me, and I’ll start work on it in a little while.  I have some sewing I want to get done for myself before I head to Kansas City in a week and half to score AP Language essays*.  I’m assuming it will be blazing hot there, and I need a few more summer dresses.

*I drafted this a while ago and I’m now in Kansas city with a pile of new dresses that I frantically sewed before coming here!  I’ll eventually get pictures and get them blogged, but they’re mostly McCall’s 6696s and Grainline Alders, so the posts won’t be that thrilling unless you’re in it to look at pretty fabrics.