Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Full Steam Ahead!

So far 2011 seems to be rather productive on the sewing / DIY side of things...  Probably this stems from the fact that I only work part-time AND don't have cable AND it is cold and snowy outside...  Which leaves plenty of time for indoor sewing and crafty projects.

I whipped up a beachy tunic based on the Palm Beach Tunic from the Built By Wendy Dresses book.  I used an old vintage sheet that totally reminds me of a Marimekko print.  This funky flat sheet was part of my bedding during university, but my husband complained about it and said it was "too bright" and "hurt his eyes in the morning"...  pffft.  Buuuuut...... being the kind and loving wife that I am (... and also wise enough to know to pick your battles), I banished it to my fabric stash, waiting and hoping for the day that a project funky and fun enough would come knocking...
Close up of embroidery on the sleeve
The tunic was a breeze to put together, I had nearly completed it during a Sunday afternoon sewing sesh, but I had a bit of trouble getting the neck-piece to lie flat around the curved neckline.  I used some black cotton twill for the hem facings, and used a snazzy embroidery stitch from my new Janome sewing machine.  All in all, not too shabby.  Now I just need some sunny Shuswap weather to break it out!  I still need to take a few photos of me actually wearing it, but the weather's been so poor lately...

Being that I'm now in my late 20's, most of my friends have / are having children.  I was invited to a baby shower for a friend this past Saturday.  They found out they are having a girl (yay!) and I was so excited to bust out my stash of vintage baby patterns.  I decided to make a sweet little dress (size 1) from the Simplicity 3803 pattern from what appears to be the 1950s or 1960s (no date on the envelope).

I used a printed seersucker fabric that was from my nana-in-law's stash, and added some red rick-rack and red grosgrain ribbon for interest.  Can you believe there is 2m of fabric in that skirt?!?!?!  No wonder it's so voluminous, lol!

I also signed on for Gertie's Crepe Sew-Along, but procrastinated all through December so am now playing catch up.  Last night I cut out all the underlining fabric and today have been cutting the outer fabric, and sewing both layers together.  Hopefully by the end of today, I will be all caught up with the rest of the group...  Here are a few shots of it so far...

It is my husband's birthday this week, and I've been wanting to sew something for him for awhile.  He is sooo picky and doesn't like anything remotely "fancy", but this past holiday season made it painfully obvious that he has no formal clothes.  He has one pair of dress pants that don't have pleats on the front, one shirt (that I bought him!), and maybe 3 ties... one of them being the tie he wore for our wedding.
We have 4 (!!!) weddings to go to already for 2011, so he is in desperate need of help.

I bought the Burda 7767 pattern and plan to make him Version A in a grey cotton-linen blend.  I love the pintucks on it, and it will be a casual dress shirt, but still a dress shirt nonetheless.  Two of the weddings this summer are beach weddings and will be extremely casual.  So this shirt will be just the ticket!
Burda 7767
I would also love to make him some casual, but not denim, shorts to wear for work and said beach weddings this summer too.  I've been eyeing up the Jochen pattern from Burdastyle, but haven't purchased it yet.  Have any of you used it?  Would I be better off to buy something else?  It seems that Burda really is the only pattern company that makes anything half decent for men...  Why is that?  Men deserve to look good too!

Peter over at Male Pattern Boldness is doing a men's shirt sew-along for February which I am going to try and follow.  I'm not sure if I will make the Negroni shirt from Colette patterns or not, but I have a few vintage men's patterns kicking around in addition to the Burda 7767 so I might just make N something from one of those patterns.

I've got a few more things cut out, and will be working flat out for N's birthday shirt tomorrow.  Wish me luck!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2011 New Year Resolutions

I don't typically make them.
That way I don't feel bad about myself for breaking them.
But then again, there's not really anything that I want to change.  I don't smoke, I don't eat that much junk food, I exercise regularly, and I don't drink that often.  I don't even go shopping very often (anymore that is).
So I've decided....  that I will not buy any new clothing in 2011!!!!  I will buy second-hand or make all of my clothes for the next 364 days!  The only possible exception to this might be if I need to buy a bridesmaid dress / shoes for my cousin's wedding in August.

I just got the Built By Wendy Dresses book, and talk about jump-starting the creative juices!  I can't wait to make any of the dresses from it.  Here is a little sneak peek of some of the projects.  (Note: I totally don't mean to infringe on any copyrights, but I know that I like to be able to see a little bit of what's in a book before I buy it.  So I'm hoping it does the same for you!).

There are 3 different basic dress styles: the sheath, the shift and the dirndl.  From these 3 styles, there are several different projects that can be made by altering the patterns.  This is definitely NOT for folks new to sewing, but I now consider myself to be intermediate level advanced beginner, so I think I might be able to tackle some of these projects.

First up: an altered Sheath Dress, with fluttery sleeves and a wide band at the neckline.  I've got some ivory satin in my stash that I'm thinking would be perfect for this dress.  I've got a wedding to go to in May that is formal dress code, so this would be perfect.

I want to make this one out of some lightweight cotton fabric for spring.  Love the bright tights they styled this look with.  I'm a big fan of mini-dresses and could totally imagine prancing around town in this little number.

 I love the simplicity of this dress and it would be perfect to wear to staff Christmas parties or a winter wedding.

I found a bright royal blue jersey-knit fitted sheet when my hubby cleaned out our linen closet the other week.  I'm not sure where it came from, but it's for a double bed and we have a king-sized bed.  So it's free fabric for me!  I want to make this comfy looking wrap dress, but I think I will put sleeves on it to make it more versatile so I can wear it all year round, rather than just summer.

I have a vintage bedsheet from the 1970's that is super bright and funky.  It would look perfect as a tunic to wear over my bikini when we go boating on Shuswap Lake in the summers.

I love bib-front tops and dresses so I think I will make myself something from this pattern.  Although I might make a blouse rather than a dress...

I had to laugh when I was first flipping through the book at the descriptions for each of the projects.  Half of them say stuff like "high rolling on the French Riviera", "tres Parisian", and "Parisian ingenue", which reminded me of Stuff White People Like (I received the book as a Christmas gift a few years ago, I literally laughed out loud for most of it), which basically states that white people (North Americans) are obsessed with French language and culture and try to emulate their style.  Who might try and copy this style you might ask?  This kid right here!  I am a bona fide francophile, having spent a summer in rural Quebec when I was 17 learning the language, backpacking through France in 2008, cooking from my favourite cookbook: Laura Calder's French Food at Home; in fact, my husband even proposed on the second tier of la tour Eiffel!!!  We have coasters with the Eiffel Tower on them commemorating this event.

Speaking of French-style, have you seen the Chanel commercial with Audrey Tautou?
When I first saw it on TV a few weeks ago (... apparently it's a few years old, but I don't have a tv... See Stuff White People Like #28) and my first thought was "yeah right, night trains are NOT that sexy....  I would NEVER wear lingerie on the train", but then again my experiences with sleeping on night trains in Europe usually involved a co-ed sleeping compartment (not in Spain however, in fact even though we were engaged to be married, they insisted that N and I sleep in different compartments!), often with an overweight Scandinavian man listening to heavy metal on an ipod while drinking / spilling beer in his bunk.  Definitely NOT as sexy as Ms. Tautou makes it seem.  However, check out that super sexy catsuit she is wearing in the train station at the end of the ad - so great, right?  I have a few patterns that I want to combine to come up with something similar.  Oh and I want to make it out of jersey so it will be nice and comfy.  Who knows, perhaps I will wear it on my next trip to Europe!

Fabricland was/is having a 2-day sale Jan 1st and 2nd with all fabric in store 50 - 70% off, and 50% off notions, as well as discounts on all patterns.  I need some new patterns like I need a hole in the head, but I came home with a few gems.  Two dress patterns for myself, as well as a few home decor ones.  We've decided not to buy a house right away for a number of reasons (we were looking for over a year), so now I hope to fix up the furniture we have now (in our rental) rather than waiting until we found a house.  Yay!

A few months ago, my friend gave me a bunch of old In Style magazines from her stash.  I'm totally in love with this totally amazing Louis Vuitton skirt on Jennifer Garner (May 2007 issue).
I have a cute white and green striped halter dress from H&M that I never wear because the halter straps dig into my armpit fat and it's super uncomfortable.  I want to upcycle it into a paper-bag waisted circle skirt like this and maybe make a petticoat for underneath to give it some extra volume.  So cute!

Here's a photo of me on New Year's Eve at a friends' house.  Yep, it happened!  I was in serious need of a can of Irn Bru the next day to get rid of the wine/beer hangover...
Hope you all had a safe and happy New Years everyone!  Are you making any resolutions?  How likely do you think you are to keep them?  I'm hoping that by sharing mine, I will be held accountable to stick to it!