Tuesday, August 28, 2012


I started this on Sarai's blog, but it just kept growing and growing!  I also felt that it is relevant to the blog!  I would add pictures, but I had/have extremely bad body image and I try to be in as little pictures as possible.  I have been this way since junior high, so there aren't any pictures of "Goth Michelle" :P


I think that a lot of things effect what is "trendy" at the moment.  I grew up in a small town.  I am not going to say it was a complete "hick" town, but what was in trend was wranglers and button-up (regardless of sex).  So, obviously, I was goth (for lack of a better word).  I don't like people telling me how to dress, or simply dressing to look like everyone else.  Still to this day, I HATE wranglers!!

When I got to college, my environment changed and I dressed in jeans and t-shirts.  Which wasn't really "trendy", but more normal that spikes and dog collars (I think my mom was slightly relieved).  I dressed that way more for comfort and laziness, though.  I worked 30 hours a week and went to school full time.

Then, I became a mommy and a had a complete style crisis.  I never really cared about clothes or fashion.  But, I have a really young face, and I got pregnant when I was 21.  So, I looked like a pregnant teenager.  I worked at Old Navy while I was pregnant, and I had customers telling me that I needed to graduate high school to give my baby a better chance.  They were also really mean and said some horrible things to me, but that's beside the point.  The fact was that I needed to change how I dressed.

I found out that after having a baby, my "pooch" had grown and it is now uncomfortable to wear jeans.  I *could* make my own....but no thanks!  So, I had a choice, I could live my life in sweats and yoga pants, or I could start wearing skirts and dresses.

Soon, I (finally) moved out of the area and I moved to Alameda, a little town made famous on the blogosphere thanks to the Alameda Antiques by the Bay.  After moving here, I started wearing jersey dresses all the time and full skirts.  I started sewing when I moved here, not because that is what's popular here, but because it was something I always wanted to do.  I also want my daughter to be creative and enjoy making things and I wanted her to see me do that.

Fashion was never a big concern of mine and to be 100% honest, it still isn't.  <<GASP!!>>  It's just clothes!  I think that people take clothes way too seriously.  I say this, but I am a sewing fanatic.  I used to see clothes as just pieces of cloth to drape yourself in.  When I was in high school, I saw clothes as the chains society puts on you-a way for everyone to look the same.  However, now I have more fun with my clothes.  I make my own clothes and it's just another outlet for me to express my creativity.  I like to pick the fabric and patterns and I like to make any creative decisions about my clothes.

Now, the late 50's/early 60's is becoming trendy, but I really think that it's because of Mad Men.  Which, I think is great, honestly.  I like to see people getting ideas of how to dress from other forces than just the runway.  I think it's awesome that the runway was getting ideas from a t.v. show too.  Now that I sew, I can see past what is "trendy" and now when I see something interesting on the runway, I don't just shrug my shoulders and think "Yeah, but I could never afford that".  Now, I usually rewind (hooray DVRs and the inter webs) and think "Wow, that's really creative!"

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Recent Fabric Acquisitions

Yeah, I bought a lot of this fabric right before I made my Hazel dress.  Two of these pieces of fabric have already been made into something.  This isn't all of it, either.  I made a couple big purchases from fabric.com and fabricmartfabrics.com when their cottons (re: voile) went on sale.  I only have pictures of these two pieces of fabric from that shopping binge.
Both of these are from fabric.com at $2.99 a yard ($7.48 a piece)
Trust me, there is a lot more.  The green plaid has already been cut out and I am making the Colette Negroni pattern for my husband with both of these.  I really should finish the green one this week...anything to put off finishing my Macaron ;)

So, my husband and I surprised our three year old with a trip to Disneyland last month.  Since we were going to be in the area, my husband wanted to go to Orochan Ramen...which coincidentally is less than a mile from the garment district!  I had never been and I desperately wanted to check it out.  However, since we were going to Disneyland, I only had $60 for fabric buying.  I knew for sure I wanted to hit up Michael Levine and Michael Levine's Loft.  I went to the loft first, because I am cheap. :P  I saw that everything was $2.50 a pound, however I have a really bad sense of weight and as I was walking around I kept putting back some of the pieces.  When we finally went to check out, my husband told me that it was probably over $60, but that was okay.  But, it came out to $31.25 for 36.5 yards of fabric!!  That is $.88 a yard people!

First up is this Olefin, at least that's what the burn test told me.  I saw this and immediately thought "Shirtdress!" but, this picture is completely deceiving because those stripes actually run on the bias so instead of horizontal stripes, they are diagonal stripes.  I completely missed this in the store...but I still love it!  45" wide 3.5 yards $3.08 for the whole piece!

Next is this beautiful Cotton Challis!  My mother in law caught a glimpse of this and said, "This is so you!"  I am completely in love with this!  45" wide 3.25 yards $2.86 for the whole piece!

So, this is another Cotton Challis this is just beautiful and soft.  I already cut out S1880 for Sunni's sewalong.  Yeah, I completely spaced on that.  But, after sewing together the skirt, I realized that it may or may not be see through.  So, I need to get my husband to see if he can see my undies through it or not.  45" (I think) wide and 5.5 yards $4.84 for the whole piece!

My husband found this piece mixed in with 5 or so different leopard print pieces.  I grabbed this one, which I am fairly certain that it's an ITY knit.  It is really soft, a little on the heavy side, though.  This picture doesn't do it justice.  The colors are actually really warm browns.  It's so pretty.  When my mom saw this she rolled her eyes and asked me when I was going to grow out of the leopard print.  I used to collect leopard print and I have a strong affinity for anything leopard print. 60" wide 5.75 yards! $5.06 for the whole piece!!

This is another Challis, but this time it's Rayon.  This is the biggest piece I got that day.  This is super soft and silky feeling.  Seriously, I want to cut a piece of this and send it to everyone I know.  The colors on this fabric is actually a little bit darker than what's shown here.  54" wide 6.5 yards (!) which makes it $5.72 for the whole thing!

This is a beautiful piece of acrylic chiffon.  If I had known that it was an acrylic, I probably wouldn't have gotten it.  But, this is so soft and silky I could have sworn that it was silk, but I am still glad I got it.   I think it would make a really cute Chantilly! Honestly, for how light and airy this is, I bet this was practically free, but I didn't cheat ;) 60" wide 4 yards $3.52 for the softest, silkiest acrylic I will have find!

So, these last two pieces from the Loft are my favorite pieces of the day...no, they are my favorite pieces in my stash!!  So, this one is more of a rich plum color n real life.  It is a beautiful swiss dot with large flowers on the border!  I already have a dress in mind for this: the Cambie!  Right??  Can't you see all those beautiful, delicate flowers around the hem of that dress?!?!  55" 3 yards making it $2.64 for the whole piece!!  I mean seriously, I would have paid $10 a yard for this, it's cotton (not poly blend) and it's just heavenly *le sigh*

This is my absolute favorite fabric EVER!  When I walked in, I saw a corner of this fabric sticking out and I snatched it up!  I felt a bit like a hypocrite, though, because my husband kept picking out black fabric and I kept saying, "I don't really like black fabric" while I was holding this huge piece of mostly black fabric.  I couldn't even understand why I liked this fabric so much.  I mean first it's black and second there are birds all over it.  I have a well known bird phobia, but I still love this fabric.  When I got home, though I found an interesting picture on my pinterest, though.
Yes, that is Kate Middleton in a black and white bird dress!  It wasn't even me who pinned it!!  It was someone I followed.  Yeah, so I quickly repinned that I plan on making a look-alike.  Maybe using S1880....I don't know...we'll see.  More than likely it will languish in my stash because I am too scared to cut it!!  55" wide 5 yards $4.40

So, that was all I got at the Loft.  I bet you guys are thinking, "THANK GOODNESS!"  I feel like an infomercial presenter because.................


Wait!  There's more! :P

I only spent 30 to 60 minutes at the loft and I only spent half of my allotted budget so I went to a bunch of different fabric stores, but I was really overwhelmed.  I am REALLY shy and having someone follow me around a little shop asking what I was looking for, how much I wanted to spend on something, what color I was looking for, etc, etc was just too much.  However, on a happy note, I did get hit on, some guy asked me for my phone number :P  I don't get that much since having a baby and getting married :P

Anyways, I went to L.A. Alex because I heard they had cheap notions, which is true.  I picked up four zippers (no picture) for $.75 each.  However, two of them are total crap.  I did find this nifty chalk fabric marking thing.  I have been using it exclusively ever since and I love it :) It is crazy awesome!

Then, I wandered through the fabric section and I picked up a couple cuts of fabric.

Brown gingham.  I already made this into another Hazel, but I used one of the zippers I bought from L.A. Alex and it wont zip up!! I have tried rubbing soap on it, but I still need to try a candle/wax.  I am pretty disappointed about it. 45" 3 yards $1.99/yard $6

My VERY last piece of fabric:
Cotton Twill.  This is really lovely!  It has a nice drape and a nice weight.  I want to make a Ginger.  I love Colette Patterns, can you tell??  Anyways, this was 60" wide 2 yards $2.99/yard $6

Anyways, that is all the fabric porn that I have today.  Now, I get to go on a walk with my husband and daughter.  Hooray for procrastination!!


McCalls 6349....how I love thee...and how I hate thee.  I am 100% in love with this dress!  It has enough skirt so that I can play with my daughter without fear of flashing someone.  It is pretty darn girly and I think it looks really good on me.  It was really easy to put together and it doesn't take a lot of fabric.  It only takes two yards of fabric and a little over two yards of fabric for the lining/underlining.  I also love the fabric!  It is a nice lightweight blue floral-which, is my kryptonite, if you haven't noticed yet.

So, really, I should make a couple more of these.  But, man is this labor intensive (hence the hating of the pattern).  In all honesty, I will make this again.  But, when I sat down to make this dress, I was looking for an easy pattern and version C (the red/orange on the pattern cover) and the big circle that brazenly said "EASY!" swayed me towards this pattern.  However, this really shouldn't have been on my radar.  The bodice is heavily gathered and then it is underlined and then it is lined and the skirt is lined, which means that there are two hems to do.  I don't know if you know this, but hems are the bane of my existence.  Which, I shouldn't complain too much about the hem on this because my lining hem was serged and my shell fabric was kind of sort of hemmed by my mom.  What??  Doesn't every one drive three hours to visit their parents and then thrust a crumpled mess of fabric in their mom's face and ask that she hems it.  Then after she hems it, ask her to iron it.   In all fairness, I didn't ask her to iron it, my mom REALLY loves to iron.  Every time we come down, my mom asks me if I have anything for her to iron.  In high school she ironed my jeans and my t-shirts.  I am sure that she would even iron sheets if she wanted.

I think that when I make this next time, I will add a half inch or so to the bodice length.  I think I might also add an invisible zipper, but I am not sure how well the zipper will do with all those layers of fabric.

Now, if you have been reading all my posts, you may be surprised to see this review instead of Vogue 8663, well I am working on it.  I actually finished this dress a long time ago, but I had to wait for some nice weather to photograph it and then I got a gigantic stain on the back and I was all sad about it.  However, the other day when I went to pull this dress out (and toss it...I mean really, the stain was that bad) I looked it over and the stain seemed to mysteriously vanish.  Originally I thought it was blood or chocolate (I have a 4 year old, getting a large stain or blood and chocolate on something is completely possible), and I know that you can't wash those out.  But, maybe I sat in a puddle of disappearing ink...meh, anything is possible.

There was no way I wouldn't put a close up of all
 the gathering I did!
So, in conclusion, I love this dress, even if it is a little labor intensive.  It looks great with tights and a sweater, so I *should* be able to wear this year round. 

Pattern: $1
Fabric: 2 yards of happy stop fabric ($5)
lining: more remnants from the knoppa sheet (free)
notions: $2 (zipper)
Total: $8

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Oh my God, oh my God!

Excuse the crazy excitement going on in this corner of the blogosphere, BUT the one and only Gertie of "Gertie's blog for better sewing" AND the soon-to-be-sitting-in-my-library-of-sacred-sewing-books "Gertie's book for better sewing" has released not one, but two patterns with Butterick! Ahhhh!!!! So excited! I am for sure buying the coat pattern, but I can't wait to see all of our fellow seekers tale a crack at the dress pattern! In case you couldn't tell, I am very excited!

Also, I officially pulled myself out of my self wallowing and decided that I needed a quick and easy project to boost my morale :) I just finished tracing out vogue 8663, and hopefully I can whip one up for this weekend.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

I need a hug :(

Yes, I am still alive and more importantly, I am still sewing.  I am working on my sewcolette dress right now. 

When I bought the pattern I threw the pattern into my purse and my husband and I went to the movies.  At the movies, I bought a gigantic bottle of water (I drink a lot of water).  When the movie ended (we saw Moonrise Kingdom, btw!), I took the rest of my bottle and put it in my purse and we drove home.  Well, during that time, my water bottle slowly leaked out, drenching everything in my purse, including my Macaron pattern!  Now, for all of the people this may happen to, do yourself a favor and buy a new pattern.  Don't be cheap like me!  I spent a good chunk of the evening slowly unfolding soaking wet pattern paper!  I laid everything out to dry and thought that was that.  However, I think the paper shrunk, because I am a size 10 with Colette and when I made the muslin for size 10, it was a size too small. 

But, I just finished my 5th muslin and I will be starting my last (and hopefully wearable!) muslin tomorrow.  I really hope that I can get my Macaron done this weekend.  I have three of them planned and I have the fabric for two of them.  So, maybe by this time next week I will have something more to show....cross your fingers!!

In the meantime, I need to stock back up on muslin fabric because I have officially depleted my resources!