September 23, 2011

Baby embroidery

When I found out I was having a baby I started to immediately think about how I wanted the baby's room.  I know I want animals of it, and have even found some cards with the animals and color scheme that I would like.  My mom trying to help me gave me a coloring book she bough for animal ideas.  They aren't quite what I'm thinking of for the room, but another idea came to me.  I have already started to trace the patterns on some plain white cotton material I had and then embroider the designs.  I am planning on then making them into a baby picture book.  I think it is going to be adorable.  I haven't decided how many pages it will be, I am thinking when I get tired of embroidering I will be done.

September 20, 2011

Sewing and craft room

Having introduced you to Darla, I thought I should start to show you where I do all my crafting.  My favorite part of the room is my "new" sewing machine.  The actual machine isn't new, but since my grandma gave me hers about a year ago it is still new to me.  It is a Singer Touch & Sew from around 1965 and still works amazingly.  When my grandma took it into be tuned up she was told it was a great machine since all of the parts are metal instead of plastic like they are today.  The cabinet is from my grandma as well.  I love it!  I also love that there is a knee pedal instead of a foot pedal which I seem to be able to control with my knee.  The room we have it in faces south and is full of windows on three sides.  I have great lighting till the sun goes down. 

Darla has several places she likes.  One is where she is at in the picture, the other is taking up half of the ironing board.  She likes that spot so much she won't move or budge if I need to iron something, so I have to work around her.  Oliver has other spots he prefers, the middle of the floor in the sun and on one particular box for some reason.

September 17, 2011

Meet Darla

I thought I should put some pictures up of those important in my life, my family.  I am going in order of those that joined first. 

This is Darla.  She is my buddy.  I got her and her brother, Oliver, when they were about 15 weeks old back in 2003.  When they were little they both would try to sleep with me.  I was so scared that I would roll over and crush them I ended up closing the door to my bedroom to keep them out.  Once I allowed her when she got bigger she generally is my nightly companion.  She comes when you whistle to her, but not when you call her by name.  She follows me around the house, and talks to me when I get out of the shower in the morning. 

Like I said, she is my buddy.  She will tolerate Brandon since he shares the bed with her, but she doesn't crawl up and take naps on his lap.  Unfortunately she does not like my step kids all that much.  She hisses and then hides when they try to pick her up, or sometimes when she just walks into a room and they are there not even noticing her.  After 6 years she is starting to come around though.  She likes to watch what is going on, you just are suppose to pretend she isn't there.  Also now that the cats and kids are getting older they are finding ways to bond.  Breanne knows Darla likes to play with a string as long as it is on Darla's terms.  Darla has also found out that Mitchell will brush her if she lets him, and that both of the kids will go out and pick her fresh cat nip if she look at them just right.

She acts a bit like a kitten still, she is a bit of a princess, she likes to cuddle, and has one loud purring motor.

September 15, 2011

Wore the dress to work

Here it is!  Brandon thinks the shoulders look droopy, but I like it and it is comfortable.  Next time I may work on making the neckline narrower through the shoulders and not so low.  Of course cutting a size to my measurements may help and not planning for future baby bust size. 

The picture does not show the color all that well.  It is a dark dark purple.  I am hoping to get a lot of wear out of this one!

Black sweater knit dress plans

Next up for the sew along is another dress.  I am planning to cut out the one like the model, but do the longer sleeves since we have already been flirting with the cooler weather here in Michigan.  During my big Joann's shopping trip I bought this charcoal sweater knit.  I like the texture that the slight heathered yarn with the knit structure adds to the fabric.  It is a thinner and a bit see through if you hold it up right, but I figure that I will be wearing it with leggings or tights and at least a tank top under it so nothing will show through. 

I have not tried a New Look pattern before, so I'm interested in seeing how they compare to other Simplicity patterns.  I have not decided what size to cut out.  Unlike the See and Sew I just completed this one does not have ties to adjust the fit.  This one is going to have to require some measuring and thinking in order to get a dress that isn't too big to wear now, but won't be stretched out and too tight in a short amount of time.

September 13, 2011

Purple dress is almost there

I have managed to get B5476 pattern all sewed up!  All that I need to do yet is the hem.  I have been letting it hang just to make sure I get a good straight edge.  I am hoping to finish it tonight so I can wear it to work tomorrow.  I will have Brandon take a picture of me so that I can share a modeled photo.
I cut a straight 14, which is bigger than I usually would have - especially in the top.  I decided to go larger with my growing front side, and I figured with the waist ties I can customize the fit.  When it is on it is a bigger fit than what it looked like on the envelope model, but I don't think it looks bad.  I should be able to wear this dress for a while during maternity.  So, my first dress was a success for my sew along goal of wearable maternity clothes!  If I can wear this after the baby is born it is another gold star on this pattern!
I am quite happy with the dress, how it fits, and how it went together.  However, I do not believe I would put "Yes, it's easy" on the front cover on the pattern.  This pattern was one of the ones that was on a wall display where all of them are suppose to be quick and easy.  I would not put this in that collection.  Like I mentioned earlier the rolled hem took some time to get it nice and even.  I know a while ago I would not have been able to do this.  Part of it would be from my old machine I was using that just didn't do nice and pretty stitches, had a foot pedal that was all or nothing it seemed, and also since I was newer at it I was still learning how to control all the things at once which ended up with a not so straight line.  It also had interfaced sections on the neck band and front rectangle on the chest.  Now, I usually don't have issues with facings at all but this one was not the most basic in construction.  For instance, the pattern told you to attach the neck banding to the bodice.  Then you sew the backed facing neck band to the already attached neck band right sides together.  Not so bad there, but then you slip stitch the already ironed, folded over, majorly curved seam to the inside neck band.  I don't think that a "stitch in the ditch" seam or that much hand sewing should be included in an "easy" pattern.  The pattern also has a lot of gathered sections.  I personally don't have any issues with it, but I do know some who have difficulty getting them nice and even for a non-homemade look. My other comment about the pattern was if I was a novice sewer, and only knew what the directions told me, I would have missed some critical points.  One important was the fact that they did not tell you in the patterns to clip the inside of the neck banding after you sew so that it will not pull on the curved seam. 
Now don't get me wrong, I like my dress.  I enjoyed sewing it, but I just do not support the easy on the cover.  I would make another and to me that tells me a lot of how I liked the pattern.

September 12, 2011

Purple knit dress

So for the See and Sew dress pattern B5476 I just couldn't wait to sew it up in the purple knit ponte roma I got at Joann's. I absolutely love the purple color and the weight of this knit.

I cut the pattern out that night. I recently purchased a rotary cutter and mat, I still can't get over how much easier and quicker it makes cutting the fabric out. I usually dread this step of sewing, but with the rotary cutter I may start to enjoy it!

The pattern looks quite easy. No zippers or buttons to mess with. I did start sewing, but the first step listed was to do a rolled hem on the parts that will become the waist ties. Since I am trying to be patient and not get wonky seams this step is taking me a little longer than I want. I am really anxious to get this dress in more of a dress form, and these long hems are really trying my practice in patience.

The past few days I haven't been able to make much progress. Hopefully tonight I can get a good chunk underway. in order to meet the eight weeks with all the things I want to sew I need to get going! Hmmm, I wonder if a vacation day from work just to sew is in order?

September 09, 2011

The sewing starting line

I went to Joann's and bought some fabric and patterns for the sewing challenge. Before I went to the store I looked through my patterns and had a dress and a coat pattern picked out. However, once I got to the store I couldn't help but look through the pattern books. I found two dresses that I liked that I think will be better maternity patterns than my original selection. I could not find a skirt pattern, but think I may be able to wing one on my own from looking at my inspiration image.

The dress pattern I already had that I was going to make was Simplicity 2308

I was thinking of making it with like the knee length version with sleeves like the lower model.  I thought I could wear it, at least in the beginning, without the belt and then after maternity with the belt. 

The two dress patterns I like better are See and Sew B5476.  I like how this one wraps around, so I think I can get a better fit with it through the months.  I like the patterned dress cut, and it in the pattern.  However, I didn't see any patterned knit material I liked.  Even if I did I'm not sure I am quite sure of how the pattern I would choose would look with the wrap and different pieces on the bodice.  So, I figure the easiest is a nice solid colored knit.

The other pattern is a New Look 6802, and of course since it is pushing winter here in Michigan I will be doing the sleeves version.  I do like this in the small pattern that the model is wearing, but I was not impressed at all with Joann's selection of knits.  Since, I am not to sure about ordering material online yet I just went with something solid that I could find.

I also found a bottom weight for the coat pattern I already had.  I still haven't found anything for the skirt so I'm still on the lookout.

More posts to come with the coat plans and images of the fabric purchases!

September 06, 2011

Major auction score!!

We went to an auction this weekend right down from where we live.  It is in a community building and this company will bring in anything from odds and ends, a furniture set from one seller, collections of coins, guns, or whatever they have, and then some are even part of an estate.  This has become mine and Brandon's weekend dates.  This spring we took the two kids with us and they are hooked.  It has since become one of the family's favorite outings.

This week, suprisingly to me, Brandon came up to me and said there was one of "your lady sewing mannequins" that I have been looking online at up for auction in the back.  I was expecting to find some ratty old thing not in my size, but low and behold it was what I was looking for!

We had been looking for them on eBay and most were going for $80 used. We were planning to buy one after I have the baby and start sewing non-maternity clothes. I decided to bid on this and see where the price went. I ended up getting it for $42 and think I got a great deal. All the dials work, it isn't torn or stained (not sure what the spot is in the picture), and more importantly it is my size!

Now I am working on getting it to where I can use it with my sewing now, even if it is just to help me get a good hem for once on these maternity clothes plan.  Any one have any thoughts on the best way to make a dress form look pregnant?

September 05, 2011

Sewing challenge inspiration

I keep looking at images of maternity clothes trying to determine what all I will need to make a wardrobe that will get me through winter.  Being in Michigan it will start cooling off here really quick, and will stay that way through the entire pregnancy.  I have already ordered some clothes online and should have them here within the next few days.  No matter if I keep all the clothes I ordered I thought these would be good to add to a wardrobe.   All images are from A Pea in the Pod.

Open Knit Cardigan

Cowl neck knit dress


Wool Coat

I have also been thinking of what colors.  Since I want everything to work with each other as much as possible to get the most outfits out of them, I am thinking of sticking moslty to greys and black.  Then, with scarves and accesories adding in color.  I can also maybe get a few base shirts in some colors and patterns to add some color to the selection.  With the 8 weeks given I think two easy project with the cardigan and skirt will balance out the more adjusting needed dress and very time consuming coat.  However, with most coats running around $300 the time spend will be well worth the savings.

Next up, picking patterns and fabrics!  Good thing there is a big sale at Joann's this week for Labor Day.  I should be able to pick up all the goodies I will need.

September 03, 2011

Colette fall sewing challenge

So yesterday I saw on Colette Patterns blog that they are going to have a fall wardrope sewing challenge. Lately I have been procrastinating on my sewing because I have been indecisive on what patterns I want for this fall and winter.
This is due to the fact that I am now pregnant and need maternity clothes.  However, I have not been able to find any maternity patterns out there that don't look homemade.  So, I figure I will have to alter patterns that would be appropriate for my growing belly. 

On my drive into work I decided to participate. What better way to force me to make some decisions and get sewing.  And, I know if I get stuck there will be an entire community out there to help me out.

I already have some fabric that I bought a few months back at Joanns. Recently I have been looking at maternity clothes that are out there to see what shapes most of them are, trying them on to see what size I need, or where the extra material will need to be at.  I have some ideas about what I want to make out of them, but I think this will be a great way for me to set a schedule to get them done in time to wear for fall!

Now comes the fun time of getting images of inspiration and tying that to what I will be making. Let the fun playing begin!

September 01, 2011

First major lesson on a gauge swatch

I don't know why I thought I did not need to check my gauge but I didn't when I made this pattern. I know when I first started crocheting I usually didn't. I don't know if with me being thinner in build I just thought most things would be big enough to fit without trying, or that since I was making a hat it didn't particularly matter. Either way for this hat I didn't check. I also don't remember what yarn I used. Something cheap and acrylic I'm sure.

It turned out huge on me! I felt like that guy on "Fat Albert" that had the sock hat pulled way down. I also didn't care too much for the chain stitch "ribbon" running through it. It looked disproportionate, of course that could be entirely my fault for making the hat huge!

In the end I gave it as a gift to my mother for Christmas. She somehow has a really large nogen with lots of hair. Ironically it fits her well. She wears it since she can't find any hats in the store that fit her. Maybe this winter she will wear it and I can snag a picture of it to share.

So my lesson learned was if I want to make something for myself do a swatch. Otherwise I make it and who gets it is by who it fits!