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Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 sewing in review

Here is Simplicity 1783, the last completed object of 2012, and while I model it, I am standing beside the new cabinet and chair I purchased from Ikea for my sewing space.

I have been sewing for almost six years now, and this was one of my most productive so far in both quantity and quality. Here are some of the highlights:

I added 123 reviews to Pattern Review this year, but I think I made closer to 150 projects since I didn't review all the t-shirts I did for our Disney trip.

My little girl began gymnastics this year which meant I began to sew leotards and tumble shorts - Jalie was my go-to pattern source for this.
 I also made a lot of special outfits for my darling girl - after all you are only 5 years old once! She hit that milestone in April and we celebrated in a Hello Kitty ensemble.
Of course, this was just the beginning of the character fun. We had a big family trip to Walt Disney World planned for August and I went nuts sewing fun things (and embroidering tops) for all of us. Here are some of my favorites:

I also made a lovely Easter dress for Miss Grace (and stayed up almost all night to finish it! I'll start earlier this spring!). I also made the outfit my mom is wearing as her Christmas present from the previous holiday.

I also particularly enjoyed created Gracie's Halloween costume - Tinkerbell. She made a very sweet little fairy!

For myself, the last two dresses I made might just be some of my most favorites - favorite fabric (ponte knit), favorite style - color-blocked, and fun colors.

For next year, I plan to sew some mini-collections - to try to pull together more coordinating pieces. I've done that more for Gracie in the past, but not as much for me.

I have some inspirations in mind for my Spring collection, but you will just have to wait...and see!

The end of winter (sewing)

I'm done with winter. Yes, it has barely begun, but as far as sewing goes, it is OV-ER! I would have to have a very compelling reason to sew something that is not trans-seasonal at this point. After all, I started sewing for cooler weather after we returned from Florida (in August) and our cooler weather in North Carolina doesn't last that long.

This black corduroy has a pretty embroidered floral pattern and will be nice to wear to work until the weather gets a bit warmer. I'm not a huge fan of long skirts, especially since I am barely 5'5" and look taller with knee length or shorter skirts. However, I hate weather tights or hose, so if I want to wear a skirt in the winter...this is a better pick.

This one is made from Simplicity 1717, an Amazing Fit pattern. I made the slim cut version which was a perfect fit in my regular size - no alterations needed. I may not be thin, but I don't carry a lot of junk in the trunk so using the slim cut controlled the fullness at the hips (which I totally do not need).

I also completed a Vogue 8668 tunic with a beautiful Marc Jacobs cotton voile I snagged from a Fabric Mart sale earlier in the year.

This is another pattern that needed little alteration - sufficient room at the bust, my problem area. However, I added 3 inches at the waist in length in order to be sure my girls didn't pull it up.

This is also one of those trans-seasonal pieces due to the lightweight fabric and three-quarter sleeves, but the color is dark enough to work in winter as well.

A third item I made for myself since the holidays was Vogue 1326 - a color-blocked dress. The pattern didn't called for knits, but a nice stable ponte knit works for a lot of things - this pattern included.

The pattern called for wovens cut on the bias and included a lining. I lined mine with a thin light poly blue jersey, but could have probably skipped it due to my fabric choice.  Of course, this made me think about restocking my knit-compatible linings, so I purchased some nude jet set knit at Joann's this evening that would be ideal for lining knits as needed.

I also got a couple of colors of denim twill - bright yellow and hot pink - thinking casual skirts for spring plus some knits - a red floral ruffled knit and a white and navy stripe. As I was getting my fabric cut, I noticed this fun white denim with a multi-colored animal pattern. I got some of that, too. Why not? It's fun and it's a nice stretch denim.

Before I get to cutting any of that, though, I have a few things to sew: two denim skirts for Gracie - one aqua, one purple - from a McCall's pattern, and Simplicity 1783 out of this beautiful animal print. The pattern calls for lightweight wovens. I am going with a lightweight knit. This is a very fluid jersey and I think it will make up lovely. I also have enough of this gorgeous print left to use it in another project...possibly a nightgown.

Maybe tomorrow I'll get the top sewn (and my Christmas tree down!)...then it will be time to recap the sewing of 2012. It's been a very productive year and I plan to hit the highlights in my next post.

Happy New Year's Eve (and go see Les Miserables if you haven't - it's brilliant! I saw it for the second time tonight.)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!

While there were a few complaints from picky kids - none were about the handmade gifts!

Here's my mom and I with the table runner I made for her. (one charm pack, 1 yard remnant for backing and binding, 1 evening...easy!)

The Minecraft shirt was a hit. He liked it so much, he wanted to put it on right away. I made him wait until after our lunchtime pizza.

You see the giraffe behind him? THAT was a definite hit.
Who wouldn't love that sweet thing? He was a labor of love for my little giraffe boy. 

How can you not love huggable wall decor? 

Gracie was pleased with her princess top, and the big boys liked their Boy Scout bags. I do plan to make a bag for Matthew to store his new tablet PC in, but I wanted to see it out of the package first and get a feel for both size and desired functionality of the bag.
I hope everyone reading this has had a Merry Christmas!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Inside Santa's sweatshop...

I have finished three Christmas gifts in the last 24 hours, but I can only post two because my mom reads this blog...

While I did Scout bags for the big two, the little two are getting tops - with character! Benjamin loves Minecraft, so I completed the Farbenmix Xater top with a ton of embroidery. I have a feeling I will be embroidering something Minecraft for the older ones before long.

This was a lot of stitching - about 4 hours worth all totaled - but the big brothers got a peek and gave it a big thumbs up. I just had to keep Benjamin out of the room where my embroidery machine is.

The stripe is Patsy Aiken (Chez Ami) knit and the solids are from Joann's (blue) and maybe Patsy Aiken for the green.
Gracie's gift is from a new-to-me pattern company: Cinderella-Zwergenmode. Their patterns are in English, Dutch, and German (all together) with photo tutorials -very nicely done. This one is called "Zazou" and has a bunch of cute options.

For my version, I went with coordinating knits from Patsy Aiken (Chez Ami) and since it had frogs and crowns, I wanted to use Tiana as the main embellishment. I found this lovely version of her at Froufroubyheathersue, and borrowed the idea of framing the embellishment from the pattern cover. I was wishing I had ball fringe and thought I'd use rickrack (knowing I didn't), but this I found the perfect shade of ribbon rick-rack! I love how this came out.

I'm glad I keep a stash of charm squares of the Michael Miller Fairy Frost fabrics - they are perfect for a princess dress like Tiana's.

Everything is done, wrapped, and ready to go under the tree (well, the giant giraffe will be hiding in the garage until his big unveiling). I might actually sew for ME tomorrow!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

More plaid awesomeness

I have been preppy-inspired...and inspired not to pay the retail (or even sale) prices for Ralph Lauren and Tommy Hilfiger, so here is knock-off #2:

I really like how this turned out - not the traditional colors I choose for her, but flattering nonetheless.

I made two slight alterations - used a heavy black elastic for the waistband and took up extra length from the middle (hidden) stay piece. Without doing that, the length of the tiers was unbalanced. It looks much better following the alteration.

There's a lot of twirl in the four tier version of this pattern - definitely approved by the girl!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Blue plaid awesomeness

Ah, the picky tween! A hard animal to satisfy at times, so when I score a hit with one of these, it feels good. This is awesome!

When 10, soon to be 11, year old Jamie and I were at Mary Jo's last month, I had him pick out a fabric for a shirt. This was his selection. I didn't get to cutting it until yesterday, but I am very pleased with my choice of pattern.

This is from the 6/2012 Ottobre and it is design number 37, a well-tailored boy's shirt with collar stand, sleeve plackets - all kinds of nice details. I was inspired to use contrast fabric on the collar stand (inside), button facings, and cuff facings by some shirts we saw in the boys' department at Macy's.

This pattern goes all the way up to a 170cm, so we still have several more sizes that can be used. This one feels like a go-to pattern!