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Sunday, January 29, 2012

Pinterested for my daughter

I have started a pin board on Pinterest for summer sewing for Gracie - who will soon be 5 and deserves a wardrobe as colorful and spunky as she is. It's turned into a good place to organize patterns I want to sew. However, what is becoming even more inspiring is a board I have made of kids' fashion - my favorite examples from around the web.

What I find interesting is that I have confirmed my style instincts for children's clothing. When you see all of your "likes" in one spot, it isn't hard to do. These are a few of my favorites:

I like this because it combines knit and cotton woven fabrics, applique, and wacky, yet harmonizing colors.

Gracie loved this dress when we saw it in Belk's this weekend, but I am not paying $60 for it. My version will have an applique or embroidery...

This would be an adorable way to use my awesome stash of knit fabrics from Patsy Aiken/Chez Ami.

I love the wild, fun print mixes on Farbenmix's samples. This is so cute!

Of course, I also like the (only slightly) more subdued Lilly Pullitzer look. This type of look is lovely here in the South.

I'm also collecting inspiration for Disney outfits since we have an August trip planned.

Of course, it isn't just collecting inspiration, I find I am actually following through with it. For example, I pinned this dress from Janie & Jack:

Then I made my version inspired by similar fabric in my stash.

So, there's my style for the girl-child: colorful, ruffled, a mix of fabric, and fun!


I'm definitely in love with the new Vogues! In fact, I want this dress, V1283, in this color...that is so pretty!

I'm also a big fan of the Guy Laroche design, V1284. I see a lot of big boob forgiveness in that one...

I also like V1285 - but I think I want to make it in a darker fabric. I could see this in navy.

I really like the lines of this suit (V1293) and again would make it in a slightly darker color.

I a little undecided about making it, but this shirtdress, V8785, is growing on me.

V8787 is another cut dress pattern. I'm partial to the fuller skirt versions.

I like the tops in V1291.

I am a sucker for color-blocking - love V8792!

I think V8793 would be interesting with mixed prints.

Overall, I am definitely happy with the Spring offerings, but my only wish is that they would go back to also having the occasional children's pattern. Whatever happened to "Vogue for Me" patterns?

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sewing Organization

Confession - I have a lot of sewing stuff...and if I don't keep it organized, it will take over my house and it will be hard to know what I have (no shocker, huh?). So, this is how I do it:

Anything I can store in a decorative way, I do. My embroidery thread looks rather charming as wall decor, no? This is hanging in what my husband named "The Scraplab" because it is a small home office on the front of the house...and my scrapbook supplies live here along with my desktop computer and our home files, etc.

My Bernina Deco 340 embroidery machine lives in The Scraplab as well - conveniently beside my PC and under shelves of scrapbook supplies. (I really don't do hobbies halfway...)

I have a folder of my embroidery files sorted by theme and I paid the extra fee for the iconizer in Embird - well worth it so you can easily see at a glance what you have.

On my computer screen is my Google docs spreadsheet of my fabric. I have added image files for as many fabrics as I could and I intend to do that from now on as I purchase fabric. It makes it much easier to browse the stash. The code to add an image in a spreadsheet is =image("http://whatever the url is", 3) . I am linking to a read-only copy of my spreadsheet here. Warning - it's a big file and it is slow to load because of the image links. I like being able to sort if I am searching for a certain yardage or fabric type. I also like that it is in the cloud since I can just take a laptop into the garage with me if need be.

This is a little taste of my garage, aka the fabric warehouse. Oh, we store other things in there, too, but this place has not seen a car in the better part of a decade and probably never will again. I don't care either.

We have this wonderful cabinet in the corner of our living room. It is a major sewing organization spot (although at present, I have a few things not yet put away from my most recent cutting spree). I try to keep some very-soon-to-be-used fabrics on the shelf along with my patterns, books, and magazines.

Amy Butler's Chelsea Bags pattern is perfect for storing magazines. I have a bag for each season of Ottobre since I have every issue I could get my hands on. If it was published in English, I have it. I also have a bag of Sew Beautifuls, one of Ottobre Woman, another of Burdas, Threads, and other European magazines like Knipmode, Patrones, and La Mia Boutique. Not ironically, there is a big bag full of bag patterns.

My envelope patterns are in baskets and bags, arranged by type and split into manufacturer groups as needed. It also helps that I have started using Pattern-File software to track what I have along with image info and other notes. It's a nice visual tool to organize and they should have a mobile app available soon.

I will admit, that sometimes there is a small working pile on a little table between my sewing desk and my couch. My kids know not to mess with this stuff. Under that table is a large storage cabinet with several plastic shoeboxes worth of embellishments - a box of rickrack, a box of lace, a container of piping, etc. There is an Artibin thread box between the table and couch (it just fits there nicely) and several serger thread boxes on the floor under the right side of the desk. Buttons are in zip-lock bags by color for the ones I have gotten in bulk from the Patsy Aiken outlet. I use snap-lock containers for the more unique ones. I keep zippers in their own box and elastic in its own. However, I have had the idea to buy elastic in the sizes I constantly find myself using in bulk. When the cut notions can be purchased half price, find an unopened box of elastic and buy the whole darn thing. It's not that much and well-worth it.

Okay, so my form of organization is not Martha Stewart-perfect. I don't care - I kind of hate Martha anyway. It does work for me and allows me to get a good bit done with minimal frustration. That's the best part anyway - the actual creating. Today was a good creating day: I got the cover dress from the latest Ottobre as well as a Farbenmix frock - Destina - completed.

Happy sewing!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Sew ready for spring!

I have to admit that my fall/winter sewing plan for myself has been totally derailed by a complete lack of interest in the current season. I want spring, so that is what I am sewing for. At least here in NC, I won't have as long to wait as I would in other locales.

I completed my Colette Clover pants - in love Tango Tangerine sateen that was $1 a yard at Fabric Mart. I still have about a yard and a half of this lovely Jones NY fabric left. I'm thinking my boys will be getting some shorts out of this.

I spent a good hour last night vacillating over what to do with this pretty seersucker print until deciding on McCall's 6327. I've made view C of this previously, but decided view E with the gathered overskirt would be cute. I opted to skip the bubble skirt part. I know it's a pretty cutesy style, but with a t-shirt and some cute shoes, I'd love to wear this in the sunshine at Disney later this year.

I have also started on some spring duds for Miss Grace and have been busy combing through my embroidery files for inspiration. I love the carousel on this floral outfit.

Once I decide on my next project, I hope to continue to add to the warm-weather goodies. After all, I have loads of fabric and patterns just waiting for me. I just need to get off Pinterest long enough to play with them.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Advanced Style

My her custom made by me Christmas present!
The pattern is Simplicity 4014, which was her choice when I presented her with a gift certificate for a custom outfit of her choice. I found the fabric for both pieces at Fabric Mart - ended up placing two sep. orders...oh well! She's happy with it, and so am I. I have a decent amount of both fabrics left, so I am strongly considering a dress for Gracie with the pink brocade at the bodice and the floral print for the skirt. There is an Ottobre pattern that keeps floating to mind...must look and see if I have enough fabric for it. Of course, being that she is small, it doesn't take too much!

Next project - Colette Clover pants in "Tangerine Tango" stretch sateen (why, yes, I am picking up on the trend!).

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Shopping the stash

I have come to the conclusion that 2012 needs to be the year of the stash. I plan to shop the heck out of it! I wish I could say I need to buy more fabric (or scrapbook supplies for that matter), but I do not. I just totaled up the yard in my database. and we'll just say I could probably sew my own house with what I've got. It's embarrassing - too embarrassing to publish the number. I'm not doing too shabby in the pattern department either.

My goal is to only buy fabric I genuinely need (like the pink brocade for my mom's jacket) or totally fall in love with (where I get into trouble). In order to get this under control, I am tracking my yardage in and out on Pattern Review (in my signature). I would like to go beyond breaking even and try to use up 3 yards for every yard I buy - or better. So far, I have sewn 6.5 yards, but have 34 yards on order. Not so good, huh?

So how best to go about shopping the stash? Well, I've set out in a couple of different ways. For one, I am using Pinterest to organize potential projects. I am also putting images of my fabric into my database which I have moved from a Microsoft database on a single computer to a cloud format - a Google docs spreadsheet. I had to figure out how to insert an image, so I will share. In the cell, you type

=image("url of image in quotes",3)

The 3 makes it fit your cell. It's not perfect, but enough of a visual reminder to keep me from running to the garage every 5 seconds when I am in planning mode.

I have also decided that if I cut a piece of fabric that is 2 yards, for example, and I have a half yard left, I should find a small project for it. Doll clothes are perfect for this. In fact, I am working on having a stash of doll clothes for Gracie's 5th birthday present (in April). That would use up stash and save money. I don't know if I will be able to hold out on giving them to her for that long, but we will see.

Sometimes I just want to get inspired by the fabric and let it suggest the pattern. That was what happened with this lovely seersucker this weekend. It just begged to be made into Simplicity 2265. Wouldn't this be cute with a lime/turquoise reversible pettiskirt peeking out? The fabric is so fun that it just didn't need any other embellishment.

I also pulled out some Doodlbug buttons. I tend to hold onto stuff like this, but they are too pretty NOT to use!

On a side note, if you have a sweet girl like my Gracie, you need to check out Princess Hairstyles - lots of fun ideas and surprisingly not that hard to accomplish.

I have a few other cut projects for Miss Grace, including some doll clothes and a doll backpack/carrier - time to work on that while she is asleep. Then, I can see what else speaks to me tomorrow!

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Damn You, Fabric Mart!!

So, I was busy uploading some pictures for my review of B5173, a Maggy London dress, and I happen upon a little missive from Fabric Mart in my email...I make the mistake of visiting. Now, I needed to buy some fabric for an outfit I am making my mom. I already bought the fabric for the dress, but I found what I think will be perfect for the jacket - a rose brocade from Ralph Lauren. Of course, I ended up spending $78 so I could pass the $75 needed for the free ten yard bundle because those are always interesting...ugh!!

Some evil I cannot resist, like putting Benjamin's silly fedora on Winston the cat, called me to drool over the amazing sale. When did they get all that cool stuff? Didn't I just order the day after Christmas? I found some lovely lime stretch twill that would be perfect for Colette's Clover pattern, an olive sherpa fleece from Marc Jacobs that was dirt cheap and great for a jacket for my older boys (they can fight it out - I'm not making two, we have loads of hoodies all over the house), modal was evil...

So, I now have one more cut project - a knit top I expect to make up very quickly - and then I think I may switch gears off my fall/winter wardrobe sewing. Gracie is suddenly getting taller so maybe I will start on some trans-seasonal pieces that will work as we move toward spring. After all, winter in NC isn't exactly long.

Once I have the pink brocade, I will spend some time on my mom's outfit. I am using  Simplicity 4014, short sleeve dress with hip-length jacket.
Ralph Lauren pink brocade for the jacket and the light tan floral/paisley embroidered stretch print for the dress...

Monday, January 2, 2012

On the border (print)

I decided to sew up Vogue 8684 for my first project of the new year. I cut the dress a few days ago out of a beautiful border print jersey - of which I was sure I had enough. Well, guess what? I forgot the measure twice, cut once rule and found myself with an issue. Namely that I could either have print sleeves or a print back bodice. I went for the sleeves.

The print actually had two borders. On one selvedge, the print was practically blooming with long leafy things. On the other, a white burgundy band held a smaller leafy pattern. The rest of the fabric had tan flecks. For the back bodice, I cheated with black ITY from the stash (thank goodness for stash!).

I also came up with two really useful shortcuts. One, test the bodice of a knit like this to see if a zipper is really necessary. Guess what? It wasn't.

Also, I dug into my stash of FOE (foldover elastic) and found the best stuff to bind the neckline with. It had gold threads on the half that folded over on a black background.

I have one more dress and top cut and ready to sew. The dress will be next since it is a black thread project. I'm lazy like that! Then, I have a coral pink knit top.