I like to jokingly call my sewing space the “sewing cave.” I’ve called it that for a while now, no matter where it actually is in the house/apartment probably since I started dating Mr. Husband. He likes to tease me that I’m a sewing monster (who later turns into a laundry fairy when he runs out of clean shirts…) only emerging from the cave for chocolate and cartoons. But the house we live in now, my sewing cave is in the lower basement, fully underground with no windows, so it really is kindof a cave. And it’s effing freezing in the winter (but dry as a bone thank g-d).
So its ironic then that I made the most light weight, breezy, summer dress that I own. In December (and January and February…). In the freezing sewing cave. It took me forever to finish, not because it was hard or anything, because I had to weight the options and consequences of either a) happily sewing, but having frozen penguin toes (forget about trying things on down there) or b) being warm and lazy upstairs, most likely on my bed with a cat on my lap. Most of the time I choose to stay upstairs and read.
Obviously I finished the dress (before the last one even), and I assumed I wouldn’t be able to wear it up here in the land of frozen lakes until at least June. But we had a warm snap (60 degrees! in March!), so I actually got to take it out for a test drive. But I work in an office, and sleeveless dress can never be worn solo no matter what time of year due to artificial climate control.
Pattern: Salme #134 Pussy Bow Dress
Sleeveless elastic waist dress featuring a narrow sailor collar with bow detail. Very quick and easy to make, though the collar may require some previous sewing experience. Armholes are finished with bias tape.
Fabric: Cotton voile bought at Drygoods Design in Seattle. This must be a record short about of time from vacation purchase to finished product, only one year! Less than a year actually! And to make sure this dress doesn’t bite the dust, I even used french seams throughout (it was hard to remember to do that though, since it’s not muscle memory, so I ended up ripping seams out a lot. Totally worth it though).
Design Likes/Dislikes: I always like the look of tie bows on blouses and dresses, but they always seem way too big for my small chest so this one is really nice that the tie is pretty thin but still gets the job done. I didn’t like making the split in front and it’s probably not necessary other than to make the tie work better. I didn’t try very hard to follow the directions for the split, but they were a little confusing.
Sizing and Fit: I probably should have gone down a size, I think Salme patterns might be drafted for someone much taller than me. I ended up cutting the 1 1/2″ off the bottom of the bodice (after redoing the elastic twice to try and get it tight enough to just billow up at the waist), because it just looked sad and saggy. The bust darts are definitely too low on me. Other than the length, its hard to tell much about Salme’s sizing since this dress is very loose fitting.
For Next Time: It’s a nice dress, but I’m not sure if/when I’ll make this again. Too many fish in the sea as they say… or lake if you’re landlocked like me.
Hello! Look I’ve sewn something!
Actually, I’ve finished a whole other dress before this one, but it is so completely inappropriate for the current sub-freezing weather that I’m holding off on posting about it (hearsay!).
This dress took no time at all to sew, but I also have no adult obligations on the weekends besides cleaning up after myself, so it’s pretty easy to spend hours at a time in the sewing cave. I bought the fabric during my last trip to Seattle at Nancy’s Sewing Basket with this exact project in mind. Most of the time when I buy fabric I have a general idea of what I want to make with it (“oh this will be a skirt of some sort”), but this fabric was set to be V8379 from the very beginning. I even bought yardage according to the envelope recommendations so now I only have about a 1 ft square scrap left!
I’ve made this dress before and it’s pretty much my favorite dress ever because it’s comfortable but looks super good (if I do say so myself, and I do), plus so few dress patterns come with long sleeves and it’s freakin cold right now. The first dress is pilling, but I still wear it because I doubt the dudes I work with will notice/care, but it’s great to have a second one, someday there may even be a third.
Fabric: Geometric, double layered poly knit. The top layer feels more like a cotton poly blend, but the bottom layer is more slick feeling like swimsuit fabric so I think it is all poly (and made my machine skip some stitches on it’s slick surface). I’m hoping that slick surface keeps it from sticking to tights ’cause you know I didn’t line this thing #lazy. I love the awesome print though, and it’s black and white so I can wear colorful necklaces and tank tops with it.
Design Likes/Dislikes: The half circle skirt is very flattering and I love that it has sleeve variations. The pleats I could take or leave, being small busted it doesn’t matter too much on me. I don’t particularly like the facings around the neckline, but that can be fixed (I already had them cut out though and was too lazy to make a binding, they do stay in place well though).
Sizing and Fit: Fits me perfectly right out of the envelope, but like I said, I have a small bust and frame. But it’s a wrap dress so you can always pull it tighter or loser, and knits are more forgiving of course.
Changes: I left off the weird collar and cuffs. To hem the sleeves I made a quick binding that was a little shorter than the sleeve width, then stretched to fit.
For Next Time: If I’m not too lazy, I’ll do the same binding style for the neckline too.
MORE WRAP DRESSES FOR EVERYONE! Seriously though, I’m convinced there is a wrap dress for everyone. Try it, you’ll like it.
Coincidentally, McCall’s is doing a wrap dress sew-along (and seriously missed a great opportunity to call it a Wrap Along. “What are you wrapping?” “Oh, you know, just myself in an awesome dress of awesomeness.”), and the Curvy Sewing Collective finished another sew-along last year (oh looks like the CSC sew-along was called a Wrap Along. Good naming job, I like those women. What else could you call a wrap dress sew-along? Wrap Til You Drop, Wrap-a-polooza, Wrap Up It’s Cold Outside? Tangent, sorry).
So the new Simplicity patterns are out and I noticed something funny right away. I have seen this dress before:
Seriously, almost this exact same dress:
The designs are sooo close, I can easily imagine Gertie being inspired by the vintage Simplicity pattern (to the point of copying? Or maybe she was open about her inspiration source and I just missed it?). If so, that’s not design, that’s just drafting (which, granted, still takes more skill than I have). But you couldn’t switch it up a little more?
I also wouldn’t be surprised if, when the Butterick dress was released, Simplicity took notice and decided to make their own version (with plus sizing too, so gold star to them). I know they took a similar approach with their Frozen costumes, making them super detailed and accurate because McCall’s had already published a dumbed-down version. So it’s not out of the question, especially if they still owned the original vintage pattern. I say go for it, this isn’t your typical “fit and flare” sold on every corner of the interwebs after all (god how that term makes me cringe, same with the over use of “DIY.” Everything is DIY at some point! Don’t get me started about made up and over used sewing buzz words).
I’m not trying to accuse anyone, I couldn’t tell you who is in the right here. What do you think?
Have you seen other instances of direct pattern one-uping? How much copying is ok for pattern companies (big and small), especially when someone is saying it’s their own original design but it might not really be so original?
My Cardboard Life is a webcomic by Phillipa Rice that I love (this mini series she did is so cool, and must have taken forever to make! And check out her super cute crochet creatures too), so I just had to share a recent one about fabric:
I haven’t really been sewing or embroidering much (I must be sick), apparently I took the “read more books” goal pretty seriously for the month of January (FOUR finished books, that’s just ridiculous)… and then I started cataloging all my books, because I’m an obsessive organizer of all my “collections.” But I’ve been slowly chipping away at a summer dress (so practical for January in the North Lands*) so maybe someday I’ll have something to show you. I know you’re on the edge of your seat waiting.*
*the written punctuation for sarcasm, it’s a thing, my sisters and I invented it.
All of you hoping to see a fancy new dress or clothing article from Molly are now officially disappointed. You can just forward this to your quilting friends!
Since my last quilt update in April, 2014, I finished one queen size quilt and three baby quilts. Doesn’t sound like much, does it? Sigh. Someday, when I stop working my day job, maybe I can do more quilt making … someday.
In the meantime, here they are:
My nephew, Matt, married his long-time best friend and wonderful young woman, Kinsey, Memorial Day weekend, 2014.
Months and months prior to the wedding, when we heard the news and date, I started planning, cutting, and sewing. I believe this quit pattern could be called Rail Fence, but they usually have three bars, not two. These are 8 ½ inch squares, half plain off-white muslin and half blue cottons. Mainly, the blue are from scraps and pieces inherited from my mom, so Matt and Kinsey have a quilt that Grandma Peggy could have made for them.
Three baby quilts:
Here I make a little fun of my brother (“A”), but more … men-folk in general and how they think/communicate.
Early September, I got this text from Brother A.
A: Do you have any baby blankets made?
Me: No, when is the baby due?
A: I am not sure.
Me: I can work on one, but time is more limited this time of year. Boy or girl or neutral?
A: Neutral. I believe there is some time. If it is too much, don’t worry about it.
Me: No, I love making them.
——– then, almost exactly two months later …
A: I forgot how we left me asking you if you could make a baby blanket for a guy I play basketball with. They just had a little girl last Thursday. Just curious.
Me: Sorry, I got busy. I have a blue and purple quilt started, will that be ok? Probly be 2 weeks or so before I get it done.
A: Thank you. Yes, that is fine.
——- one week later….
Me: Quilting the baby quilt. What is the baby’s name? I’ll try to put her name on the quilt, or the birthday.
A: IDK the name.
Me: October 30, 2014? Not November, right? I’ll just put October 30, 2014 on the quilt…. I looked at your previous text and think her bday is Oct. 30 (which, BTW, was grandma Zetta’s bday)
A: Yes, that sounds right.
——- two days later
Me: Baby quilt done! Just need to take photos.
A: Okay, Thank you. Can I pick it up Saturday morning? A little before 8am?
Me: Yes, that would be good.
So, my brother plays basketball with this guy every week but doesn’t know anything more than there is a baby coming. Women that meet weekly for sports or any reason would
likely know when the baby was due, what sex the baby was, how many kids the family already has, how many brothers and sister the woman has and where they live and what they do for a living, etc.. Men will know how good the friend’s layup is and who their favorite NFL team is. Yes, that’s our men. The really cool thing about my brother’s friend’s baby turns out to be: 1) the baby was born on our Grandma Zetta’s birthday and 2) her name is Ruby, which was our other grandma’s name!
This baby quilt (below) is for a friend in Oklahoma. Their baby girl’s name is Novel, named after the mom’s great grandma of the same name. Seems like a good Oklahoma type of quilt!
The third quilt is for the granddaughter of my very dear friend, Tara. I bought a fat quarter set of five different batiks and added one more from my stash. This baby quilt is a tiny bit smaller than some of them, but SO PRETTY! I haven’t given it yet, I hope to meet the new baby and give it to her then.
Thanks for looking at my quilt update, I’m sure Molly or Pedro will have something lovely for you to see soon!
On January 2nd, 2011 I started blogging on a whim because Mr. Husband said “why not?” Then I didn’t tell my family about it for a whole year. Of course once I did tell them, they kindof joined in here and there.
Like last year, I’m not going to do a statistical round up because it always feels like too much work for no reason. I looked quickly and I posted 11 reviews on Pattern Review so I probably sewed a little more than that many projects this year (since not everything goes on there, but everything does end up here). Notable things that happened in 2014:
- One year work anniversary
- Two year wedding anniversary
- Trips to St. Louis, Seattle, Rapid City, Pierre, Lincoln, Kansas City
- Moved to the suburbs
- Adopted our second cat, Potato
I don’t think I made any goals for 2014 because yearly “resolutions” and “challenges” feel irrelevant to me, this year I think I’ll just tell you my general hopes for 2015:
- Bike and walk more in the summer because we live so close to great parks, reserves, and paths
- Try to get in the habit of going into the sewing cave everyday, even if it’s just to clean up or something small (I’m really bad about not wanting to sew unless everything is put away and I’m dressed for the day, no idea why I can’t wear my pajamas but I can’t)
- read more books
- Take more interesting blog photos, mostly I’m thinking I should try to imitate pattern photos just for the heck of it
Hope you all have a happy New Year!
I’ve made embroidery a habit, there is nearly always an in-progress project near the couch nowadays. It’s great for mindlessly watching sporting events (Mr. Husband has become a hockey fan now that we live in the State of Hockey). But I’m slow on blogging them so here are several I’ve finished in the last few months.
My last cowtow! It’s like the end of an era… kindof!
All five cats are slightly different, but my lighting was bad so I only got clear pictures of these two
Sashiko Pillow Kit:
I’ve been wanting to try this kind of embroidery, which is basically just a running stitch, but I wanted to use the correct materials. So when I visited Crafty Planet, I got this pillow kit (I’d rather have had a geometric design but this is pretty too). At some point I’ll do some more of this because lining up the stitches that intersections was surprisingly challenging.
Christmas Angel Wings:
This one isn’t my favorite, but I think it gets the point across… the point being CHRISTMAS. But the end result is kindof kitchy and a little strange? It’s ok. I was probably just too excited about this christmas thread assortment from Sublime Stitching, with white and a darker green added in. FYI, that metalic thread of theirs is a bitch to stitch with. Seriously not fun. The wing pattern also happens to be from Sublime Stitching, but that’s just cause I couldn’t find a good complete angel that I like anywhere.
And there you have it.