Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Pattern Dilemma

Have you ever have this problem?  You have some amazing fabric that you're saving for the perfect pattern. Then one day that perfect pattern finally comes along.  You debate long and hard over whether or not it really is perfect before finally deciding that it is in fact "the one" and you can't live without it.

Then, just before you're about to start cutting, you get cold feet and wonder if you've made the right decision.  Is it really "the one"?

This is the dilemma I'm having right now.  I want to start working on my blue eyelet dress.  I've decided that the perfect lining was flesh colored mystery fabric that I found at Joann's this weekend. It's probably 100% polyester or very close.  Not ideal, but I don't care because it fits my vision:

Navy Eyelet

I've envisioned a flowing dress that would be perfect for warm weather.  I usually gravitate toward skin tight or A-line, but wanted something a bit fluffier with this. I wanted fun and girly......or did I?

Enter Colette's Chantilly pattern.  I decided that this would be perfect. It's was "the one" for this fabric.

Chantilly Pattern and Fabric

I even made a muslin of the bodice last night. The fit is great, but now I'm completely second guessing my pattern choice.  I'm not sure if the style is me and I'm not sure if it does the fabric justice. Don't get me wrong, it's an absolutely beautiful pattern, but something is stopping me.

I want the fabric to be the star of this, not necessarily the design.  I'm worried that all of the gathers on Chantilly will take away from the eyelet pattern, and that's what I really want to highlight. 

I'm also second guessing the dress design on me.  I love how it looks on others, but not sure if it's completely right for me because it's not what I usually choose.

I'm thinking of making another Cambie instead. "But didn't you just make one?"  Why yes I did, but that was the A-line version. I think that if I make the full skirt version with this fabric, I'll be happier. I'll get a more fitted bodice, which will be the perfect canvas to display the eyelet pattern, achieving my main goal. And, I'll also get the fluffy skirt that I want, but won't feel like the bodice gathers, the skirt gathers and the fabric are all competing.

I do want to sew a Chantilly, because I do think it would be fun to wear.  Maybe I'll just use it as an excuse to purchase more fabric next week!

I'd love to hear what other people do in this situation.  What happens when you have what you think is the perfect pattern and then second guess yourself.  Do you just go ahead with the original pattern?  Run out to the store and purchase more pattern-appropriate fabric? Or, do you agonize over the decision so much that nothing gets made? (I'm trying not to be guilty of the last one.)

Monday, January 28, 2013

Finished Watermelon Cambie

I've finally finished my Watermelon Stretch Cotton Cambie dress:

Cambie Dress

It feels great to cross off another project on "The List". This dress has been 90% complete for weeks. I only needed to finish hemming the lining and sew on lace trim (because I do love me some lace).

The details - This is the Cambie dress pattern from Sewaholic, View A.  The fabric is watermelon stretch cotton fabric from Britex. The dress is lined in pink cotton batiste and trimmed with pink lace. I cut a size 6 for the top and graded up to a size 8 at the waist.  I also did a sway back adjustment, which is standard for me on all dress patterns.

The lace trim is also from Britex. I originally purchased it last year when shopping for supplies for my friend's wedding dress.  I went a bit overboard with the yardage and had enough left over to trim the shell and lining hems: 

Cambie Lace Trim

Is it lace overkill?  Maybe, but I don't care!

Cambie Lace Trim on Lining

Another view?  Well, if you insist:

Cambie Lace Trim on Shell

The lining is a pink cotton batiste, also left over from the wedding dress project. (If you haven't guessed already, the wedding dress was pink.)  I really love the construction of this dress. It's as pretty on the inside as it is on the outside.

Cambie Dress  Lining
And check out that zipper. I guess it's sort of a machine sewn/handpicked combo. I'm not sure what else to call it or if it technically fits into either category.

Cambie Zipper Detail

It's been very grey and dreary here, and not conducive to me swapping my sweats for this dress and conducting a proper photo shoot.  I'll try go get some action shots this week.

Macy is SO not impressed with any of this:

Miss Macy

Thursday, January 24, 2013

A Quick Little Project

It's been an extremely busy week, but I found some time to finish this:

McCall's Easy 2250 House Dress

This is just a quick project I finally finished for my Grandma - a flannel house dress using McCall's Easy 2250 (out of print).  It's not fancy, and certainly not an amazingly exciting project to blog about, but I think it still tells a story.

It doesn't matter if I'm whipping up a quick flannel-based project or an elaborate evening dress, I try very hard to put the effort in to make sure that it's well constructed and that the garment will last.

A project like this makes me realize that even though it's something that I consider simple and quick, a lot of thought, care and love when into it's construction.

McCall's Easy 2250 House Dress

I was very careful with my fabric selection. It needed to be soft enough for her to wear comfortably and keep her warm. Fabric selection is important in all garments really - taking the time to make match up the appropriate fabric to not just the appropriate pattern but to the wearer's lifestyle. 

While I may hand wash my handmade clothes or at least protect them with garment bags, this flannel dress will get no such tender loving care.  To me this means all seams are finished, whether or not they are covered by the facing.  I'm addicted to my serger and no seam is safe from it's clutches. I want to make sure that a garment like this will hold up to repeated washes and that it's built to last!

See those red arrows? Those indicate all hidden serged seams.  I'm not taking any chances with my Grandma's dress coming apart!

McCall's Easy 2250 House Dress Interior
I brought this dress over to my Grandma at her nursing home today and it was a hit.  She loved it was excited to wear it tomorrow. I'm happy to know that this quick little project see a lot of use. Now, I need to decide what color dress to make next for her.

Sunday, January 20, 2013

"The List"

I'm sure most sewers have a list of projects they want to make.  I have not just a list but "The List".  I sometimes call it my bucket list, but then I think referring to these as the projects I want to do before I die sounds way too dramatic for a list of a few dresses. But then, there's nothing wrong with a bit of drama from time to time.

A small part of "The List" was based on patterns I wanted to sew. Most of the entries started with the fabric - I've just purchased this fabric that I had to have or I would die (there's that drama again)! So now what should I do with it? The latter reason is why I'm going to show you fabric pictures instead of patterns.

So, without further adieu, I give you "The List".

1. Lady Grey Coat:
Wool for Lady Grey

I have wanted to sew the Lady Grey Coat from Colette Patterns ever since I saw some of the wonderful versions by other bloggers.  It took me a while to find the perfect fabric, but I finally purchased some absolutely beautiful wool last year from Britex in San Francisco.  Pictures do not do this justice! I can't remember if it was called Norwegian or Icelandic Wool, but it has the most fantastic texture.  I'm almost afraid to cut into it.  When the time comes, I'm going all out on this and incorporate every couture tailoring technique I can find.

2. White Floral Cambie:
Floral Fabric for Cambie Dress

It took a while for the Cambie pattern from Sewaholic to grow on me. Now, it's grown on me so much that I'm planing to sew two of them.  This one will be the "less sweet" or straight neckline version of this dress. This fabric is from Gorgeous Fabrics.

3. Navy Eyelet Dress:
Navy Eyelet

Back in September, I made it my mission to find some dark blue eyelet for a dress.  Once again, Britex to the rescue!  I've been debating on the perfect pattern for this and right now, Collette's Chantilly is the leading contender.

4. Watermelon Stretch Cotton Cambie Dress:
Watermelon Stretch Cotton Cambie

This is the second Cambie on my list and yes, the fabric was Britex once again. This time it was an online purchase. (See the Britex bag hanging on the wall in the background? That's right, I'm that hardcore about this store.)  I became fixated with this fabric after reading this blog post. I'm happy to say that this project is almost finished! The sweetheart neckline that I thought I could never wear looks really cute in person and I think it actually looks good on me.

5. Blue Wool Skirt:
Blue Wool

I picked this wool up during an excursion to one of the few remaining Hancock Fabrics in the Chicago area.  (I really miss having more of these around.) I originally intended to replicate a skirt I saw on the Anthropologie website, but now am not sure.  Do I go A-line? Pencil skirt? So many decisions in life!

6. Brown, Cream and Navy Striped Thurlow Pants:
Blue, Cream and Navy Striped Thurlow Pants

Let me tell you a story - the year was 2011 and I had just purchased one of my very first Groupons.  It was to Mood and I was so excited to be purchasing fabric from the same place that the Project Runway designers shop!  After debating for days, I decided on this striped wool for a pair of trousers. They even sent me a Mood bag! I was in heaven.  It took me until Sewaholic's Thurlow pattern came out to decide exactly what pattern to use. I'm holding off a bit on this project because I'm trying to lose a few pounds and want to make sure that I fit into whatever size I decide to sew up :)

7. Black Evening Dress:
Black Beaded Fabric

No photograph can do this fabric justice.  It's from Gorgeous Fabrics, and like the name says,  it is gorgeous!  Ever see a fabric and not know what you want to sew with it but just know that you have to have it no matter what?  That was this fabric.  Since the purchase, I've been doing some research and have really been drawn to some 1950s vintage dress styles.  I'd like to capture that feeling with this dress.  The leading pattern contender is "The Sultry Sheath" from Gertie's New Book for Better Sewing.

8. Kitty Bed:
Kiko and His Kitty Bed

I never promised that everything on "The List" would be clothes or would be fancy. I previously blogged about this kitty bed. It was really nice to be able to cross one item off of my list!

9. Hanging Towel Bag:

Again, definitely not in the fancy category, but something I could really use.  I don't have a picture of this handy, but this pattern and the kitty bed above are from the book One Yard Wonders.

10. Sequin Dress:

I have no pattern, no fabric and no occasion to wear this. I just know I WANT ONE!

11. Brown Lace Dress:
Brown Lace Fabric

This brown lace purchased from Vogue Fabrics in Evanston, IL.  The original intent was a lace shirt, but then saw a brown lace dress in a store with an exposed metal zipper. And,just like that, plans changed. No pattern yet, but this I'd say some of the more exciting projects are higher on the list so I have time to find something.

12. Dress with my own custom printed fabric:

I've been admiring the designs on Spoonflower. I'd love to try my hand at coming up with my own pattern worthy of being made into a garment.  It's not the highest priority since I have a lot of other fabric to get through first.

13. Retro Apron for my Mom:

She wants and apron and I have a great apron pattern, somewhere.  It's a sign, don't you think? Now, I just have to figure out where I put the pattern, and what fabric I should use.

So that is "The List". I'm excited to see how much of it I can get through this year!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Burda Top - Part II

Guess who finished their second Burda gathered top?

That's right, I did!

I love the gathered sleeve detail. (Sorry, the picture is a bit grainy.)

And, check out that awesome seam.  I don't know what it is, but sometimes I just have to step back and admire a finished seam.  There's something perfect about the evenness of of stitches and the fact that I look at it and think that it looks identical (or better) to that of a store bought garment.

It's not flashy, but it fits into my wardrobe beautifully.

I used the Burda Gathered Top Pattern again and cut out a size 40, again.  The fabric was dark green jersey that I picked up for a steal at the Textile Discount Outlet.

Here's what I did differently this time around:  I pinched out about 1.5" from the neckline of each pattern piece.  (I didn't take pictures of the pattern adjustment because it wasn't pretty to look at.)  I also shortened the neckband, which helps keep it in place while it's worn.  The finished shirt kept the oversized neckline that I wanted, but did not stretch it to 1980s proportions like my previous shirt.

Next up - I'm about half way through sewing my Gram's house dress and need to crank out a pair of lounge pants that I promised my husband before I can move on to "The List".  I'll share details about "The List" with you on a later post.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Fabric Cutting Craziness

Guess who had a burst of energy this weekend and cut out fabric for three new projects!

I really surprised myself because cutting out pattern pieces is my least favorite part of the sewing process, and I never cut out more than one project at once.  I'm not sure why.  Maybe because the process isn't that exciting, or maybe because it's impossible to layout and cut any fabric in my house without having to navigate around my cat Floozy. She's never met a pattern she didn't want to lay on.

That's right - check out that strategic use of brown paper as a decoy.  I've also tried decoy fabric with varying degrees of success. (And yes, I cut most things out on the floor since it's the largest, clearest surface I have available.)

The dark green fabric in the top image will be my second Burda Gathered Top.  I've taken in a few inches from the neckline, so I'm excited to see how it will turn out.

The tool print fleece is set to become another pair of lounge pants for my husband (McCall's 3019) and the blue snowflake print fleece for a house dress for my grandma (McCall's Easy 2250). Both patterns are no longer in print.

I have a number of much fancier projects in the queue, but wanted to finish up a few quick items first.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Finished Burda Gathered Top

I work from home and make it a point to at not wear my pajamas to work. I change into something other than PJs before logging in for the day, but that "something" definitely isn't fancy. Lately, my standard work wardrobe of sweats left much to be desired and I needed to make some changes.

Enter a scoop neck sweatshirt I saw, and have been obsessing about, in a magazine.  It wasn't anything fancy - an oversized yet slightly fitted top with raglan sleeves.  I took to calling it "classy lounge wear" and I wanted it!  It would be an improvement over my standard work wardrobe of grubby sweats. 

I searched just about every pattern company website I could find looking for something similar and came across Burda's Gathered Top #119 . It was perfect for me and gave me a base I could work with.

Burda Gathered Top #119

I'm not always a fan of print out patterns, but had no choice. It's nothing against the pattern companies, I just hate taking the time to tape all of the sheets together. Surprisingly, this went together very fast (for me), and I if I had started sewing sooner I would have completed this top in one night. When it was all said and done, it probably took me about three hours to complete (not counting the time it took to assemble the pattern.) This project may turn me into a print at home fan after all.

I actually debated between the 38 and 40, but then decided to go with the 40 (equivalent to US 8) but not add the full seam allowance.  I thought this was genius and would give me the fit I desired. The other modifications I made were to omit the bottom ruffle and not cut the neck band on the bias. The gathered sleeves were not in the original inspiration sweatshirt, but I really liked the design detail and decided to leave it in.

The fabric was taupe jersey I purchased at the Textile Discount Warehouse in Chicago. I'm really becoming a fan of that place, and of sewing knits. I used to be terrified of the fabric, but it's amazing what a difference a new machine with a working zigzag stitch makes!

The verdict - I love it and think it's not bad for not really paying attention to the seam allowances (or sewing instructions for that matter). The scoop neck is a little too wide, or at least wider than I intended and it does give me that 80s vibe, but it's still completely wearable.

Hello 1980s! I just need some legwarmer and neon hoop earrings to complete the look.

I'll definitely be making another version of this. I have some similar dark green jersey that I also purchased at the Textile Discount Warehouse.  For the next one, I'll work on making the neck smaller by taking in a couple inches from all of the pieces at the neckline. I'll also make the neck band slightly smaller in order to get the neck to lay flatter on me.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Weekly Sewing Goals

I love the website . I find it extremely inspiring to read about other sewers who commit to completing a project per week.  But, no matter how many times I contemplate playing along at home and completing one of the weekly challenges, I just never do. 

Well, not this year!

I'm borrowing their concept to challenge myself, but I need to put my own spin on this.  I need this to be a realistic goal and take into account that there will be some weeks where I just don't have the time, so I'm going to be loose in my challenge criteria. I want to complete one clothing-related project per week. Said project can be sewing a complete garment, completing a knitting project, or even something as minor as mending an article of clothing. I'd like to be able to say that I worked on one crafty/artistic project every week.

So far, so good.  For the first week in January, I made pajamas for my mom out of some very cute cat print flannel.  Unfortunately, I don't have a picture of the top, but the pattern was McCall's M4320, View B. The bottoms are McCall's 3019, which I believe are out of print now. (They're very similar and possibly identical 4320, but I've never tested it out.) These are my standard, go to lounge pants pattern and I've made these about a million times now.

Sorry about the grainy pictures.  These were all taken with my cell phone.
I've also added my "signature" label to these. It's definitely not my best work, but I was in a bit of a hurry.

Second week and I've been going strong. My first project was one off my to-do list: "Better Than a Box Pet Bed" from the book One Yard Wonders.

Miss Floozy is modeling her brand new cat bed.  She sat on it before I finished hand sewing the last seam. Consequently, I had to work around her and try not to stab her in the backside with my needle.

I also just discovered the Rosy Ladyshorts pattern from Cloth Habit.  I love, love, LOVE this pattern! I can't say enough good things about it. I've made three pairs so far, with a fourth in progress.  Sorry, no pictures of these to share yet.

Let's see how long I can keep the sewing momentum up!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Welcome to Makizy Sews

Hello and welcome to Makizy Sews! One of of my resolutions this year is to start blogging about my sewing and other craft-related projects. I enjoy sewing anything from evening wear to simple flannel pants and everything in between.

My goal with this blog is to share the many projects that I have in progress and on my very large to-do list. Hopefully, committing to regular blog posts will also motivate me to finish more projects and clean up the enormous WIP pile!

Last year, I set a goal for myself to try to sew my wardrobe instead of buying new clothes.  I mostly succeeded and can count the number of new garments I purchased on two hands.  This year, I want to take this challenge even further and construct more everyday wear as well as expanding my evening wear options.

Makizy Sews Renfrew Collection
Here's an example of last year's sewing - my 2012 Renfrew Collection (using Sewaholic's amazing Renfrew Pattern). Modeling these is the lovely Kiko, also know  "ki" in Makizy


I'm sure there will be many format changes and blog iterations while I learn and explore this new online medium, but I'm looking forward to the learning process and hope you'll join me for the journey!