Sunday, May 31, 2009

Busy days

We've been awfully busy around here lately. My great big girl (who's turning SIX soon!) has had a bunch of stuff going on. She had her first (and last, I think) ballet recital this week. Here's a picture of her outfit:
She did a great job, as did the rest of the cast. (The Duluth School of Ballet puts on quite a production, I must say!) She's done with ballet, though (I think all she wanted to do was arabesque, and beginners don't do that sort of thing), and I can't really say I'm sorry. It's sort of a pain - lots of driving around - for something she wasn't all that interested in. We'll stick to other sports, I think.

Speaking of other sports, she also had her first (practice) swim meet this week. It started badly, with a (fairly legitimate) freakout over being asked to swim backstroke. (She'd never practiced it at all, so it's not so unreasonable not to want to do it, if you ask me.) But THEN, she swam freestyle, and not only did she go the entire way without touching the rope (for the first time ever, as far as I've seen), but she did it in 51 seconds! She was 6th out of 12! (Without ever putting her face in the water, lol!) She was really, really excited, and I was so proud of her. Especially since I've been kind of worried that she'd be dropped from the team for not swimming a whole lap. (The water has been extremely cold since they started practice, and that really hasn't been helping things at all.) I loved swim team as a kid, so I'm glad she's having fun. And she might even be swimming in a real meet with that time!

Oh, I think I mentioned her watermelon shorts and matching shirt in a previous post - here's a goofy yet sweet picture with M post-ballet recital:
And I have another outfit to show off - a white version of my Burda shirt, and a jean skirt that I quite like (another version of Simplicity 3881):
Very comfy. I'm working on another denim skirt - that seems to be a summer wardrobe staple for me this year. At some point I'll have some more tops to show off as well, but I probably should sew the kids a couple of dresses first. They're starting to complain... ;)

And a completely random note - we saw the Star Trek movie this evening, and it was awesome! I definitely recommend it!

I find it hard to believe that it's already June tomorrow. The calendar's pretty much full for the month, so I'm sure it'll fly by....

Thursday, May 28, 2009

More stuff for me...

Well, I've been busily working away, but I don't have pictures of very much of my stuff. I made another one of those Burda tank tops in white. I made some super cute shorts with watermelon fabric for the girls, and A has a shirt to match (M's isn't made yet). I adapted the Favorite Things Little Smarty pants pattern (that I had previously made for M), and they fit better.

Then, I spent a whole lot of time drafting a pattern for a circle neck tank top. Since I have absolutely no pattern drafting experience, that took a considerable amount of trial and error and time. ;) I finally got something I like, and then I made it in white knit. I'm not entirely happy with the final product (I assembled it differently than my muslin, and I don't think it worked quite as well), but it's certainly wearable:
So I have a couple more of these in mind. It's quite comfy, which is nice, and I think I know how to fix my construction issues. Oh, and I made the skirt as well - the fabric was an impulse at Joann's, and I used Simplicity 3881 again, lengthened with a ruffle instead of a flounce. And I put the zipper in the side instead of the back. I like this skirt pattern a lot - it's versatile and flattering. I'm definitely making more of these - I've been in a skirt mood lately.

Oh, and if this picture is funny, I blame my 5 year old, who took it for me! :)

Hopefully I'll have some pictures of some of the other things at some point. And I have many more things waiting to be cut out and sewn. I think I might get some good sewing time in this weekend.

I've also been spending some time lately looking at blogs because Sew Mama Sew is having a May Giveaway Day. Tons of cool giveaways available - check it out if you have a chance!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Me, me, me

;) Apparently the me-centric sewing theme continues.... I've been in a mood to make myself things lately, and since the girls have a ton of clothes anyway, I've been doing that. This week I've made two tops and a dress (and miserably failed on another dress).

Oh, please ignore the weird angle of these pictures - I was using the timer on my camera, and I didn't really have a good spot to set it, so they're kind of angled up. Also, I ended up partly or all headless, lol.

During my last round of pattern shopping, I got Simplicity 2580, which I really like. It's meant to be dresses, but I used the pattern to make this shirt:
I used a knit that I'd gotten ages ago for a dress for A - it was really a bit thin for a dress, so I'd never used it. I thought it'd be good for making a muslin, although I actually quite like the way it turned out. It's cheerful and summery. The neckline is cut a bit low for everyday wear, to my mind, but it works just fine if you put a cami underneath. Next time I'll probably make the sleeves a little less fluttery, but they're fine this way, too.

Today I put together a dress from the same pattern:
(Okay, so it still needs to be hemmed, but I decided to go ahead and include it.) I like this version, too - I'm thinking I'll be making a top from this as well.

And then I also got this Burda pattern (7644) and made this tank top:
I didn't want to do the ruching, so I just cut off some of the bottom fabric. I cut it just a smidge too short, but it's cute and wearable. Of course it is; it's Burda. They actually fit me. I actually decided that my mother's day present this year is a subscription to Burda, so that should be coming to me sometime in the next couple of months. I'm psyched.

I'm also psyched because Stitch magazine finally came out with a new issue. I picked it up at the bookstore today, but I haven't had a chance to look at it yet. I loved the last one, though, so I'm looking forward to it.

Both of these patterns are actually quite easy. I had a little trouble with the Burda one because I used the serger, and it took me a couple of tries to find a method of ruching the shoulders that worked well, but otherwise it's quite straightforward. Which is good, since their instructions don't always make much sense!

Unfortunately, I think I'm finally giving up on another dress that I was making. Long, long ago, I started to make Vogue 8182, only in knit (with a contrast band) rather than the original fabrics. So, I made it. Only it really looked amateurish around the bodice - I'd had to do a bunch of adjustments to the bodice, and it just didn't look great. So, I cut the bodice off to redo it. The second try was totally unsuccessful, because I messed it up. The third try was this week, and it just didn't work, either. I just can't get the bodice attached in a way that actually looks good. So, I thought I'd just make a slightly different bodice, which is a great idea in theory, but I went to Joann's today to get some more knit for the bodice, and it's all gone. :( I might try a different Joann's, but I'm not hopeful.

Oh, well, I'm happy with the rest of my efforts this week, so I guess I'll just stick with that! And at least my trip to Joann's wasn't all wasted - I picked up a bunch of crafts for the kids and I to do this summer, since school's out in 3 days!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Tote bags and some chickens....

Happy Mother's Day!

It's been a good day. My girls (with some help from Daddy) painted a wooden picture frame and jewelry box as my gifts and made many some very sweet cards. Plus I got a lot of hugs and kisses. A lovely way to start the day! And then we all went to breakfast and the Botanical Gardens with my mom and sister and her family, which was fun. Here's a picture of me and my mom at the gardens:

It was beautiful, if rather hot, and we had a nice visit. Afterwards, Iestyn took the girls out to play, and I got some peaceful sewing time. I powered through the rest of my teacher tote bags. (Everything was cut out, and I'd sewn one and part of another, but now they're all done.) I'm quite pleased with how they turned out. Actually, I might make myself something like one of the first two:

(and I got enough of that purple fabric to make myself a skirt. I don't know how well you can see the fabric, but it's really lovely.)

But since it was my treat for Mother's Day, I also took some time to sew myself a wristlet:

I have a great love chickens for some reason, so I had to grab this fabric (Metro Market from Robert Kaufman) when I saw it. It's lined with some coordinating apples, which are also adorable. Plus I've been wanting a slightly larger wristlet than my current one, so new fabric was a good excuse. I'm also planning to make myself a hat out of it. I got that cut out, but I got tired after all the tote bags!

Anyway, it was a very nice day - a good mix of visiting time and quiet sewing time. And I'm all done with teacher gifts, so I can move on to some of my new patterns!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Swim Skirt

Well, not actually a swim skirt, I suppose, but a cover-up to get me to the pool:
The plan is to wear this with my previously posted Heather Ross blouse over my swim suit while I walk to the pool.

I was at Joann's the other day, sans children (bliss!), and while there I noticed a sign that said Simplicity patterns were 2/$5. I'm a total pattern junkie (possibly even more than with fabric, if you can believe that!), so of course I sat down to look through them. I found this skirt (Simplicity 2608) which also includes yoga-ish lounge pants/shorts. I'm totally going to have to make some of those for around the house. So I picked up some interlock and whipped this up. It was very easy, I must say, although I think the tension on my serger might have been a little off for this fabric, because it's a big puckery on the seams. Since it's just a cover up, I don't really care, though.

I was also pleased to see that Simplicity is starting to expand the number of shirt/blouse patterns that include different cup sizes - it's nice to just be able to sew with a pattern, rather than having to adjust it every time. They even had a dress pattern that I almost got only because it not only included cup sizes, but it also had three different body types available. I thought that was cool. So, I got a couple of tops to try. I also learned that they have a decent price on Burda patterns (and the printed patterns include seam allowances, so I wouldn't have the problems from the last post!), so I got a couple of those - a shirt and a pair of capris.

As it turned out, the 2/$5 signs were mistakenly put out a week early by some Joann's employee, but happily they honored the price anyway. I was awfully confused by my initial total, though!!

Oh, speaking of the Burda pattern from the last time, I've actually made a number of adjustments to it. The zipper still needs a bit of work, but I think it's going to be very cute. I'm really beginning to think I need to get a dressform, though. It's a real pain to pin things on your own body, and Iestyn is completely wigged out by pinning things to me. I think he's afraid he'll poke me. So, at some point that would be a good thing.

For now, however, I have teacher gifts to make, since the end of school is very soon!

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Academic exercise turned wearable...

Let's see... Well, first of all, I've been wearing the capri pants a fair bit, but really they're still a bit too big. I like the dark denim look, so I've just been putting up with it, but at some point I need to buy some more denim and make a different pair. I feel like I'm constantly pulling these up and fussing with the waistband. But at least they look cute. ;)

Next up are a pair of peasant blouses for the girls, made from Michael Miller Tweet Tweet fabric.
(Sorry, no action shots - they haven't been in very trying on moods. M's does fit her, but I don't know yet about A's.) I used the same basic pattern for the tiered dresses the girls like so much. I had to make up an expanded size for A, since she's grown since last year (and the original pattern it's based off of was actually only up to size 4. So this is an expansion of last year's expansion!) I need to her to try it on to make sure it fits before I make any more tiered dresses for her. Perhaps I'll get them on tomorrow!

So the next thing I've been working on is a Burda dress pattern I downloaded. I thought it would be fun in some of those fabrics I got at Gail K a while back. And supposedly they make their patterns in a C cup, so it might not need as much alteration as most of the patterns I try. The downloadable patterns are in PDF format, and you print off 25+ pages and tape or glue them together to make the pattern. So, I did that, and then traced the pattern pieces on my beloved Swedish tracing paper (because I thought it'd be easier to use than the regular paper. And better for my scissors.) However, I didn't realize until *after* I traced the pieces that no seam allowances were included. Oops. No big deal, I'll just add it in when I cut the pieces out, right? Except I forgot by the time I cut them out. And I used nice fabric. Grr. So, I decided to go ahead and sew it together with 1/4 seams, as an academic exercise as much as anything. Which was a good plan, since the instructions were enormously confusing. I hope they're better in the actual magazine. Probably it doesn't help that they were (I assume) originally written in German. Anyway, I finished everything but the hem and tried it on - and it fits! I don't know if they included a ton of ease or if I measured wrong the first time, but here it is:
This version isn't hemmed, and the bodice is pinned in a couple of places - I need to do a quick alteration to fit me better. But all in all, I'm pretty pleased with it. I'm planning to make another version with a couple of change to the front bodice pieces next. And the whole thing actually went together pretty fast, especially considering it was my first invisible zipper, and I didn't understand those instructions at all!

This is my first Burda pattern, but I have to say that I really like the fit of this dress. It seems like it was designed a little more like my body is shaped, unlike many of the US big three pattern companies. I'm going to have to see if there are any other patterns I like from them. (Plus they have some free downloads, and I just think that's cool!)

I haven't quite decided what the next project is - I'm thinking maybe some shorts for the girls. Not that they need clothes at all, but I do like seeing them in all my fun fabrics!