Sunday, July 15, 2012

Calamity Jane

Ahhh, the Truffle dress.  Everyone and their mom has made this (I even have a meringue skirt waiting to be shot).  To be 100% honest with you, I bought the book for this pattern.  I love how you can play around with different fabrics with this pattern.  The peplum makes it a super fun, casual dress, but you can also leave the peplum off and have a tailored dress.  One of my favorite variations of this dress is actually MarrieB's version.  It's simple, classic, and lovely.  Another plus?  This pattern is easy and relatively quick to put together.  I did 90% of the work on this dress in one day.  I wanted to finish it before going to Disneyland/my parent's house last week.  But, I was finishing up the handstitching today.  I was frantically catchstitching the hem so that I could wear it to my daughter's dance recital!  Here's a picture of me and the beautiful little ballerina.  Side note: look at the yoke detail on that guy's shirt!

back-look at that invisible zipper!  It's only my second one!
While I was putting the dress together, my daughter came in and saw it haphazardly thrown on Penny (my dressform) and asked what the fabric was called.  I told her it was gingham and then, she stood back and looked at it and said, "wow, that is a lot of gingham on your dress!"

I stopped everything and looked at the dress, she was right, that sure was a lot of gingham.  So, I decided to put some hot pink piping in the neckline, which added a little something.  Originally, I wanted to do the dress in a drapey fabric for the peplum, but I really liked the idea of making the peplum in a stiffer cotton.  I had already made the muslin a couple months earlier (what?? I got sick!), and I just cut away.

The skirt pulls towards the back a little and I can't figure out why.  It didn't do that on my muslin.  So, I need to figure that out, because I want to make a couple more Truffles. 

So, you may ask, why would I call such a sweet dress, "Calamity Jane"?  Well, I don't think Calamity Jane would EVER wear this dress, but for some reason this dress reminds me of Doris Day in Calamity Jane.  Well, to be honest, anytime I think of gingham, I think of Doris Day in Calamity Jane.

Pattern: $30 (but there are other patterns and if I count all $30 now, then I don't have to count it later!  Hooray for justification!)
Oh no!  You can see my big belly!  But, this is my skirt pulling towards the back!
Fabric: 3 yards X $3.89: $11.67 (Fabric Mart)
lining fabric: Ikea Knoppa Sheet remnant: Free!
notions: $3 (zipper and piping)
Total: $44.67 (ouch!  But,  the book will pay off in the end!)

What I learned:
Well, I will learn what that skirt pulling towards the back is all about!  I also learned basic fitting techniques that are outlined in the book.  I have a long torso, and usually I have to lengthen the bodice, but I actually had to shorten this one...weird.

Would I make it again?
Most definitely yes!  I picked up some really great challis while I was in L.A. last week and once I find a good lining for it, I will make one up in a drapey fabric.  I also have three yards of some vintage chintz I picked up for $15 at the Alameda Flea Market and I really want to make this dress out of it!

I thought this was a funny photo! My husband was taking the picture of my back and then he said, "One more for my personal collection" Absently, I said, "Ok....wait....what?"  Then I turned around and said, "Eeeeewwww!"  He caught me mid-turn :P

Thursday, July 5, 2012


Yeah, I know, I am not very imaginative with my names as of late.  Anyways, this is my version of the famous Colette Patterns Hazel.  I joined the sew colette 2.0 sew along.  I also, think I am going to go back and do all of the patterns from the Sew Colette handbook.  Which, I have finished one of the patterns and I need to finish my truffle dress. 

ANYWAYS!  Back to my Hazel dress which I took out for a test drive today.  So, this is a super simple dress and my muslin only took two hours.  Did you catch that?  My muslin took two hours.  More on that later.  Basically, it's a slightly high waisted dress that is pretty cute.  As soon as I saw this pattern, I immediately thought, "plaid!" 

I made it in a really nice plaid seersucker fabric I got from during one of their sales.  It's basically a princess seamed bodice, but the princess seams are changed a little and come to a point.

One point about this dress is to make sure you get the necessary amount of fabric.  I thought that I could get away with just getting 2 yards of fabric, but I ended up four inches too short!!  I, of course, didn't realize this until I had already cut out every piece except for my skirt front.  So, my next dress that I make from this pattern (yes there will be more), will be longer.  I talked about this in my Brown Sparkly Dress, but I will say it again, I need my dresses a little on the longer side because I am a stay at home mom.  If this dress was even slightly shorter, it would be way too short for my taste.  But, that's fine.  The dress is really comfortable and as long as my husband is the one putting my daughter in the booster seat and picking things up, I am fine.

So, remember how I said that my muslin took two hours?  Well, this dress took WEEKS of work!!  First, I had to cut my dress 4 inches too short.  Then, I sewed my skirt together and my pockets were nowhere near matching up.  So I had to resew my pockets on.  Then, I sewed my left front on incorrectly, with the pocket on the outside.  So, I seam ripped and then DID IT AGAIN!!!  Once I finally got the skirt sewed together properly, then I went to put the facing in, and it was TWO INCHES TOO SHORT!!!  So, I decided that the silver lurex in my fabric was slightly irritating and I decided to line it with some ikea knoppa sheet scraps I had from a different dress.  I sewed it all together and I was TWO INCHES SHORT AGAIN!  So, at this point, I just sewed on an extra patch of fabric at the end.  I, of course, sewed it on incorrectly with the seam allowance on the outside.  Grrrr!!!  So frustrating!  But, thanks to the sew along, I "kept my head down and powered through" (yes another Arrested Development reference).  I am really glad that I did because I really love this dress. :)

Pattern: $18 (but I will make it again, so next time it will be free!)
fabric: 2 yards of seersucker $8.40
notions: $1 for the zipper
total: $27.40

What I learned:
I put in my very first invisible zipper!  I think I did pretty well.  My waist seam is all matched up and everything!

I also learned to keep going on a project when things get hard.  That was actually a really important lesson, because sometimes when things go wrong in a project I tend to just give up and stop working on it.

Would I make it again?
Yes, yes, yes!!  I love this dress and can't wait to make a longer version of it.  I think it would be really cute in even a solid.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012


Yeah, the most unimaginative name for this dress because I named it after the designer who made the pattern!!

So, I joined the Summer Spark sew-a-long on Flickr.  You would know this if I actually posted about it, but I didn't.  Oh well, anyways, I was going to use Simplicity 1880 because I am in that sew-a-long as well.  But, I ended up not getting enough fabric for that pattern.  So, I did a last minute scramble and I finished Vogue 1190.

Pattern: $4 (sale at Joann's)
Fabric: $2
notions: already had on hand
Total: $6

Don't mind the look on my face, this is my "hurry up and take the picture" look!  I swear I will get better at being in front of the camera on day!!

If you recognize the fabric, it's because it is the same sheet I used on Betsy!  I love using vintage sheets!  I also used a random remnant of brown satin.  I am not exactly sure what I got it for originally, but I put it into this dress.

When I bought the pattern, I really wanted to make this dress up in a fancy satin, but I never found the right fabric.  So, when I couldn't finish Simplicity 1880, I looked through my patterns and settled on this vogue pattern and my beautiful vintage sheet.

I did a couple things differently in this pattern.  The most obvious (which really isn't all that obvious to begin with) is I kept the darts on the inside.  The pattern has you sew exposed darts, but I didn't really like the look.  I also used hem tape for the hem and I handstitched the hem.  I really like how that looks.

What I learned:
I learned that I don't have to stick with the recommended fabrics.  I can branch out and try different things, but I really need to think about drape.  The skirt is a little stiffer than the one the model is wearing in the photo.  I am happy with it and I prefer the slight a-line the cotton gives it, but I just need to remember that for other projects.

Will I make it again?
You know what?  I probably wont be making this again.  I kind of feel like a clown in this dress.  I am sure that a fabric with more drape would do better with the ruffles, but in this fabric, the ruffles stick out at weird angles.  I feel weird with all the ruffles sticking out at my boobies.  But, that's fine, I will wear the heck out of this dress, I just don't know if I want another one in my closet.

Don't mind my bangs...I just got a haircut and the lady really didn't listen to me when it came to my bangs :(
Also, I am visiting my parents this week and I brought a bunch of outfits that I needed to photograph for the blog.  So expect more posts this week :P