4.13.2014

Frolicking in a Field of Poppys

What's this? Back to back poppy print dresses? Oh yeah, I think we all need another hit of pretty poppy goodness. Just shield your eyes from the glare coming off of my lily white legs. Ahhhh it burns, quick find me some sunglasses!!!
Everyone have their protective eye wear in place?  Good, good, then I can show you this. Poppies precious, so many poppies!
Dipped hem Heather?  Did you go and make another Flora skirt? Guilty as charged.  To say that I've been jonesing to make another Flora would be putting it mildly. Instead of going the TNT pattern repeat route,  my brain was all, "Let's switch things up and make something fun and semi impracticable."  Just like that a plan was hatched to do a little BHL pattern mixing and matching.
Yep, it's the Elisalex bodice with it's gorgeous neckline and sleeves for those of us with reptile blood.  Wooo Hooo, I'm only partially freezing in these pictures and there was a nice patch of sunlight out of frame. Mmmm warm me sunshine, but don't burn my pasty flesh.

For this smaller sized Elisalex bodice I did all of the same pattern alterations as the first time, with the exception of increasing the diameter of the sleeves. One new change was made, the front of the sleeve cap was flattened to compensate for the 3/8" taken out of the front princess line seam. Here I was wondering why there was so much ease in the front sleeve with a forward shoulder adjustment made.  Ummmm because you removed 3/4" of armhole diameter without adjusting the sleeve Heather. Ooops.
The good news for those of you who also like bodice/skirt swamping is that the Elisalex/Flora patterns don't need much tweaking to fit together well.  I sewed a size 10 for both pattern parts and found the Flora skirt to be around 1/2" bigger in the front then the Elisalex bodice.  It was then a simple process to make the knife pleats a little deeper so that the circumferences matched up.  The back circumferences were the same to begin with, but I moved the box pleat over an 1" or so to match up with the princess seam line.
All pleat adjustments were done on the fly while attaching the skirt to the bodice.  The proper way would have been to check the patterns and adjust them before cutting out the fabric.  But I'm all for truth in sewing and doing it the lazy way work out just fine. Don't tell the sewing goddess lest she smite me.

Now about this fabric, it's a Milly cotton sateen with.......wait for it.....an ivory background.  Past Heather really had an ivory background buying problem.  This fabric should have gone in the "give to other people with warm complexions" pile.  But as you can see I greedily held on it it cause poppies and reasons related to poppies. I hope you can forgive me.
Overall I'm pretty pleased with this pattern mash-up.  The one thing I would change is to slightly lower the front portion of the dipped hem.  Because the front seemed short, a very narrow rolled hem was used to preserve as much length as possible.  I still get the feeling that a pair of poppy modesty shorts might be needed for getting out of cars and stiff winds.  I see London, I see France, I see your underpants, you hussy! So sorry, that's my inner grandma talking. Go bake me some poppy seed cake grandma and keep your opinions to yourself. Mmmmm caaaaaake.

4.09.2014

Now You'll Sleeeeeep.....then I'll steal your shoes

Hello all. I hope you have your shoe closets locked up tight, cause I'm about to knock you out with one heck of a dress. That's right, I was not speaking in hyperbole during the last #sewdollyclackett post about hemming a poppy dress. The "Painterly Poppy Dress" is real, and it's amazing. (I'm really getting into this whole dress naming thing. Long live Dolly Clackette!)
Are you feeling woozy yet? No?  Darn!  Frog say in a ready position with the shoe boxes, I have to soften them up with a few more photographs. I know, let's pander to the pocket lovers. Back side of pocket bag matches skirt, front pocket doesn't. Ooo La, la.
This is my #sewdollyclackett dress number two, a pattern mash up of the By Hand London Anna bodice with the Christine Haynes Emery skirt.  OMG, don't these two patterns looks fabulous together. I just want to squee all over myself and make a couple more. The credit for this idea goes to Jennifer Lauren and her amazing Christmas Dress.  Upon seeing it I drooled all over the keyboard and then plotted to make one of my own.

That must have made Ann, over at Gorgeous Fabrics, spider senses tingle.  She went and posted the perfect fabric for this type of dress, a giant floral boarder print. The print starts out as kind of like a multi-colored polka dot that gradually morphs into poppies and foliage. YES, YES, YES, take my money!
Part of me wants to make a summer dress out of this right now.
If you can believe it, this was my very first border print purchase. The plan was to make the Anna/Emery combo and put the largest flowers on both the hem and top of the bodice. However my Christmas cookie addled brain neglected to realize that I'd need extra yardage to do this. It just though, "Hey 2 yards of 60" fabric is plenty for a sleeveless dress."  Yeah dumb dumb, if it's an all over print.....but you only want to use the one edge!  Past Heather, buy another yard!!!  Past Heather never listens. She probably couldn't hear me with her head buried in a cookie tin anyway. It was time for Present day Heather to put on the thinking cap and came up with a solution.

After playing around with the pattern pieces, I could see that after cutting the skirt some of the large floral area would still be left. I could also cut the bodice upside down on the print, to get some of the smaller flowers in the shoulder area. Then a few large flowers could be cut out and appliqued to the bodice.  This crazy plan might just might work!

I cut the skirt and bodice pieces as planed and then used the lighter print area for all the pieces that wouldn't show.  Except for the one side of the pocket bag, they needed to blend nicely in with the skirt. See my brain was working on that day.
After completing the rest of the dress I turned my attention to harvesting some of those large flowers. To keep the edges from fraying, I block fused the fabric before cutting. Then for added insurance I put fray check on the backside edges.
When it came time to attach the flowers on inspiration struck.  I had some left over beads in my craft supplies, why not use those to hide the hand stitching?  Get out the needles, cause we've got some beading to do. Who am I doing all this hand work? Frog hand me some chocolate, I think these poppies must be making me a little high.
Tadaaaa, a pop of red color on top, balancing the bottom. Perfect!
After completing this dress I knew it needed some very special shoes......and none of my red shoes matched the orange red poppies. Oops, I once again bought a fabric that is not in my color scheme. At least the background isn't ivory this time.  Then Frog told me I was thinking about this all wrong.  A dress that necessitates a shoe purchase should be a plus. Thanks Froggie, you'll always be my number 1 enabler.
So we asked ourselves WWDCD - What would Dolly Clackett Do? Purchase Miss L Fire heels with the grapes on the toes?  Yes, yes, she would.

Oh sweet, I think those shoes finally made all of you pass out.  Frog, plan "Rudy Slipper" is a go! Start filling the shoe boxes.  Muhaa haaa! You didn't know I was the wicked witch did you? My color correcting and my new nose totally had you fooled.  "I'll get you my pretties and all your little shoes too." Then I'll instagram my new ensembles, I'm not a monster after all.

4.07.2014

Winifred Sans Collar

Just a quickie post to say that I've written a little Winifred hack over on the Bluegingerdoll blog.
Same great pull on style with 100% less collar.  Perfect for all those giant necklaces your father has purchased for you....well that might just be me.  I'm pretty sure my shopping/stashing gene came straight from him.  Anyways if you're interested pop on over there.  In closing here's a goofy pic of me embracing the wind that was trying to blow me and the camera over.  "I'm the king of the world!!!"

4.05.2014

Hoodie Hoodlums

One of the great things about having a toddler is using them as justification for fabric purchases.  Traa laa laa, I'm buying fox print cotton for my kid, not because I want it.  No, no I swear, it for him. *Beats toddler off fabric when he tries to take it*  My latest "kid" fabric purchase was this skulls sweatshirting from Kitschy Coo.  It was too awesome to pass up, period. I concocted the idea of matching Mother/Son hoodies to block out the "you should be stashbusting" voice.   Hush up voice, I got some family bonding to do.
I'll also admit that I dreamed of adorable photos a la Katie and Myra in our matching hoodies.  Yeah, that didn't happen.  Half of the photos are of me trying to drag Desmond into the shot while he goes limp and flops to the ground.  Thanks son, I pull the same trick the next time you yell about needing to bake cookies.  "Oh no, I can't reach the mixer from the floor. Guess they'll be no cookies today." Then he'll try to jump on me like a trampoline....maybe I should come up with a Plan B.
My hoodie is the Kitschy Coo Penny Pinafore hack with added kangaroo pocket. I'd thought about adding a kangaroo pocket to the navy version, but didn't want to break up the color accent. On this version it was time for pockets precious, pockets!  My iPod never had it so good.
Desmond is wearing the Kitschy Coo Reversible Zippy Hoodie. His version is not reversible, cause the skulls are too awesome, but is fully lined with some black jersey scraps.  I'm super jealous of his lining, it makes the whole thing twice as lush. He is more interested in sticks. "Phew, Phew!"

Pattern
Kitschy Coo Reversible Zippy Hoodie - sewn in a 4T size, which is what Des is currently wearing. The pattern comes in the size range of 18m-8 years. Sweet!

Fabrics used
Sugar Skulls sweatshirting, which is more like a beefy french terry. It has a looped back which you can see in this shot of the inside of my hoodie.
Also used Black cotton/lycra ribbing and black jersey scraps.

Pattern changes/alterations
Sewing for kids is fun, no alterations needed!  Modeling with kids, that's a different story. Stop trying to Escape!

Confessions/Advice
- The "working for now" coverstitch machine was used to attach the kangaroo pockets and to hem the hood edge.

- Installing the zipper is a little fiddly because of having to mess with two layers of knit.  My biggest problem was matching the motifs since I couldn't see them with the lining in the way.  I ended up attaching the zipper to the shell only, then attaching the lining with a second seam. The lining hides all that mess and no one is the wiser.

Husband Comment
"Cool matching outfits. Now I need one, but I want it to be poncho."  - He's joking....I think.

My Final Thoughts
Kitschy Coo had a hoodie pattern so I didn't go searching around for alternatives.  I know that Amanda's patterns are well drafted and have good instructions. That makes sewing her patterns enjoyable and I'm always pleased with the final project. What more could you ask for?  Maybe a ton of Lillestoff to magically land in my back yard. "The knit gods are pleased!" Looks like Des has got the "knit rain dance" sorted out. You'd all better go indoors. "Blam, Blam, Blam!"

4.02.2014

I'm Here for the Garden Party - By Hand London Flora Dress

*I got an engraved note in the mail the other day.... "We cordially invite you to our fence garden party on the first of April. Please RSVP if you're bringing cookies."  Let it never be said that "All the patterns" Heather would turn down a cookie party.  I made sure to bake up a fresh batch of cookies and got myself all dolled up in my new party dress, Flora.  Well I must have gotten there early because there was no garden party or cookies, just the fence.  At least the fence and I are old buddies. After catching up we decided to take a few pictures to commemorate the event.
The age old story of a girl and her fence
Where the hell are those cookies?
Right about this time I started suspecting some foul play about the cookie party.  Wait a minute, isn't it April fools?  Hey where is my plate of cookies?!  I ran back to the house to find frog face down in what was left of the pile. To say I was displeased would be putting it mildly.  After a thorough scolding I put him to work paying off his cookie debts sewing hems.  I'm currently monitoring him drinking a glass of wine and smoking cigarettes Betty Draper style. Still working on my Nordic bitch stare.

Speaking of Betty, I'm pretty sure she would kill for this dress.  OK fine, she's made some snotty comment about being a size 6, but secretly she'd want it. And who wouldn't, it's full of girly awesomeness.
I know some of you saying, "Wait a minute, that dress is supposed to be a blue and white floral. Not a black and teal flora. What the what what?" Well ladies, that lovey pique turned out to be about 4" too narrow and a yard too short.  Guess I should have checked the yardage requirements before writing up my ridiculous dress list post.  The circle skirt needs the entire 60" of fabric to get the full sweep and it eats up yardage like crazy.  Luckily for everyone I have lots of wide flora prints in the stash.......lots.

But let's get into an actual pattern review. Remember those?

Pattern
By Hand London's Flora Dress  I sewed a size 10 with the faux wrap bodice and the skirt with the straight hemline.

Fabrics used
Ascher Studio dress weight cotton.  I really like the vintagy large scale prints Ascher Studio makes and have several of their fabrics in my stash.  This one I bought at my semi-local store, Steve's Sewing.
The lining is black siri which I picked up from Gertie's store last summer.

Pattern changes/alterations
1. Usual 1/2" forward shoulder adjustment.
2. For my low set bust I dropped side seam dart 1 1/2" and shortened waist dart by 1".
3. Took in the side seams under the arm only about 1/4".  The pattern flares out in that area so it was very simple to cut off the excess making the side seam straight.

Note - I always have to fix gaping in wrap bodices and was prepared to make that alteration to this pattern. Imagine my surprised when trying on the Flora muslin and finding no gaping what so ever. I did cover this alteration in a previous post, so if you need it then click here to see it done in the Gertie wrap dress pattern.

Confessions/Advice
1. The waist darts might be a little too far over towards the side seams.  This wasn't that noticeable in the faux wrap bodice, so I did not change their location.

2. On the faux wrap bodice the zipper is not supposed to be encased in the lining.  The overlap of the two pieces keeps you from turning the SA under in the waist area. Because of this you're supposed to finish the CB layers together and sew the zipper on top of the lining.  Well that exposed zipper irked me, so I did some unauthorized sewing to get around it.  The lining and self layers were sewn together up to 1 1/2" of the CB where I stopped and back stitched.  Then I folded the lining back and continued attaching the skirt to the bodice with only the self layers.  This isn't good sewing practice, so I wouldn't recommend it.  But I got to encase my zipper tape and be happy.

3. Those of us with low set bust fullness will find that there is plenty of coverage in the wrap bodice. At least that's my theory for why the pattern mock up shows so much cleavage and mine has none.  I actually prefer the non revealing neckline because keeping my boobs inside wrap bodices is usually a problem. Much like water, they always seek the lowest point.

Husband Comment
"You're all dolled up in a summer dress.  It's pretty but aren't you cold?  Well I guess you'll be ready for summer."

Bonus son comment - "You think you like ballet? Spin, SPIN!" *Giggles as I spin and skirt twirls out* "AGAIN!!!!!"  I had to run away because he made me spin until I almost fell down and had some "regurgitation issues."

My Final Thoughts
This is the first By Hand London pattern that I was crazy about from the start.  The others were more of a slow burn/be swayed by other people's FO's deal.  I think a full skirt without any gathering is really what sold me.  Full Skirt + Wrap bodice = Girly prettiness which summer Heather enjoys.  I'd make another in a heartbeat.  Now if I can only wrangle an invitation to a real garden party. The fence is my plus 1.
P.S. - It's the day to announce the Spring Clean Swap pattern bundle winner.  Grace Cunningham, you will be getting the bundle of patterns and thank you for taking them off my hands.  I'll be emailing you for an address in a bit.  For everyone else, I still have plans to do a thorough weeding out of the pattern stash. Those will go up in the Stash diet group and I'll give everyone a heads up when that happens.  Thanks everyone!


*Crazy made up story. Except the part where frog concocting a intricate plan to get more cookies. He would totally do that.

3.31.2014

You give me Q's and I give you A's.

Hey there folks, it's monsoon season in Philly otherwise know as "Spring."  Mother nature hasn't seen fit to give me a gap in the rain to photograph any one of my new FO's, tricksy snitch. Luckily for me the lovely MaLora of Bird and Bicycle gave me something else to talk about when she nominated me for a Liebster award. Sweet, now I can be a smart ass and post pics of my pretend boyfriends.  Thanks MaLora, hopefully you won't regret doing this. ;)

1. What was the last movie you enjoyed watching?
Gonna reveal that I'm kind of a dude when it comes to movies and say that would have to be "Pacific Rim".  Giant robots punching giant monsters, yes please. Also Idris Elba yelling at people, I could go for a super cut of that. 
Do I look like a man who cares? Just get in the damn robot and go punch a monster.
I give that answer with the caveat that I've yet to break open "The Wolverine" which my husband gifted me for Christmas. I expect to enjoy looking at shirtless Hugh Jackman immensely. 
Awww Hugh, you bought me some snacks. That's why you're my favorite.
2. What was your most recent adventure?
Adventure? That would mean leaving the house and the sun hurts my vampire eyes. Hissssss.  I have Froggie do all the adventuring and report back.  Besides I don't have time to go out. Dresses need to be sewn for my dates with my imaginary boyfriends. Fassbender said he was gonna drop by this weekend, so I got to finish this hem.
I heard you baked cookies. I love cookies.
3. How do you improve your techniques or sewing knowledge?
Through the internet mostly.  There seems to be a real dearth of books for experienced sewers.  I don't know if it's because beginning sewing is a bigger market, easier to write, or if it's just sexier with it's bright young faces.  If the last point is the problem then I know just the man to solve it.
Yes, yes I am.
4. Why do you blog?
I blog because it makes my sewing addiction seem slightly less crazy and to perpetuate the lie that I'm funny. Oh and to freak out the neighbors with all my selfies. Though I'm not sure they know I'm their neighbor. This makes my constant use of their fence even funnier cause I'm like a neighbor hood pest. Little do they know I'm eating the peanuts they leave out for the squirrels.  Nom, nom. (Not really, but Des tried to once.)

5. Who do you enjoy sewing or making for the most?
Ummm MEEEEE!  Self professed selfish sewer over here. Even my own sister had to to wait a year for me to make her a coat. What can I say, I like clothing A Lot.  My husband once asked, "When are you gonna stop sewing cause you have enough clothing?" I stared at him blankly, stop sewing? Enough Clothing? Error, please retry command.

6. Where do you get your fabric and sewing supplies from?
All my crack, I mean fabric dealers are online.  I think most of you probably could recite them by now. "Yes yes Heather, we know you LOVE Emmaonesock.com. Get a grip already."  And there's GorgeousFabrics.com. MarcyTilton.com, Hartsfaric.com, Sawyerbrook.com, ApplieAnnieFabrics.com, all of Etsy and so forth.  Thank you internet for saving me from the fabric selection at JoAnn's!  "JoAnn's where sewing dreams go to die." - not their new slogan, but it should be.

7. What is a your dream vacation?
My dream vacation goes something like this...all the other people in my house go on a real vacation leaving me alone for a week. I ignore all house work and subsist on a diet of nothing but cake and cookies.  I get to sew, knit and watch period dramas which may or may not star Colin Firth. I sleep on my husband's side of the bed and drool on his pillow.  Basically I fully embrace my anti-social tendencies and become full on hermit. Ahhh bliss, now get off my lawn!!
There can only be one Mr Darcy.
8. Do you meet locally or have a local, in person sewing groups you like?
Sadly I live in a barren waste land when it comes to garment sewers.  I know Becky's over in my neighboring state of Delaware, Hi Becky!  People around here mostly quilt or wonder why anyone would sew their own clothes.  That's OK I wonder why they scrapbook.  I'll just talk to my internet friends until we find the financing for our sewicalist commune/cult. "I hear they worship fabric there."

9. What is your current favorite song or group you are listening to?
Right now I'm on an Arctic Monkeys kick, really enjoying their new album "AM".  Not sure if it's good music or just catchy music, but I've got it on repeat. Listen boys, I'd pour you one for the road if I had any alcohol left, but frog had a wild party last night. Fassbender left some cookies though.
Dude knows he looks like Danny Zuko, right?
10. What is your favorite fabric to wear?
This changes depending on the current temperature of my house. Sadly I can't talk anyone into buying me a giant heat rock to keep me warm in the winter months. How's a lizard lady supposed to self regulate? Huddle in front of the oven? Now you know why I bake so much.  But anyway let's back to the question.  Even in the winter months I do have a cottony underlayer, so let's say my favorite is a cotton/lycra in either knit or woven form. I retain to the right to change my mind when a fancy new piece of silk dances before my eyes.

11. What is your favorite pattern to sew?
I know you did not just ask me to pick a favorite from all my babies! I love them all soooo much. *Hugs pattern envelopes to chest* Honestly I can't pick one cause it's ever changing. My sewing favorites seems to depend on what I'm in the mood to sew. One day it might be simple knit tops, another summer dresses and there's always that recurring desire to sew a complicated jacket. I am "All The Patterns" Heather, hear me roar!   RAARRRR...oops, frog says keep it down and save my hulk impression for Ruffalo.
You're so adorable when your angry.

3.29.2014

Spring Clean Swap Meet and Quarterly Stash Busting Totals

Here it is almost April and I'm having one of my old lady, "My stars, time sure is moving fast," moments.  Seems like a good time to take stock and see how those self proposed stash busting goals are going.  I've got a spread sheet and everything!

Quarter One Totals
Yardage sewn up - 46.5 yards.  Thanks to ye old spread sheet I've found that my monthly yardage average is about 15 yards.  Good thing to keep in mind when I start filling my virtual carts with yards and yards of fabric.

Given away or trashed - 38.25 yards.  The Stash Diet group helped me out a lot by finding new homes for fabric that I'd fallen out of love with.  I also fessed up to myself that a few UFOS laying around were actually wadders and could not be salvaged. Don't worry, I wouldn't throw away lovelies any of you could use.

Purchased - 30.5 yards.  My January and March acquisitions were modest (3 and 6 yards respectively) but I went a little crazy in February.  Waechters Fabrics retirement liquidation and the sneaky way Fat Quarters up your yardage where the main culprits.

Total yardage down........54.25!  Woot, Woot!  Now I've got to remember that fabric given away totals will be low next quarter and pray no more fabric stores go out of business.

Time for a Giveaway
The Stash Diet group announced that it's having a Spring Clean Swap Meet this weekend and I decided to go prune the pattern stash and offer a group of 6 as a giveaway. All of these patterns are uncut and some are still in their factory folds.
In row one - Colette Jasmine, Colette Ginger and Amy Butler Mini dress tunic and tops.
In row 2 - Simplicity 2925, Simplicity 2614 and New Look 6130.  The Simplicity patterns are in the 6-14 size range.  Comment with your email if you'd like to enter the giveaway.  I'll pick a winner on Wednesday April 2nd and mail you the goods.  Patterns precious, patterns.