Saturday, December 29, 2012

A cry for help

 You probably remember last month when I was talking about modeling my Christmas dress after Bernie Dexter's fabulous creations. That got no further than the planning stages before my Husband informed me that  the party wouldn't be until AFTER the New Year.  Well....that left me bitter enough to state I wasn't going to attend this ridiculous "we survived the holidays" party....Until this week when I decided that now that the holiday season is almost over, I'd like more reason to celebrate. SO, I'm left scrambling to put a dress together before next Sunday. I had some black and white polka dot charmeuse (or something like that) in my stash and decided it would make a cute non-xmas party dress. I asked my trusty friends on Instagram which pattern I should choose and it was honestly almost completely 50/50 between Simplicity 4070 and Gertie's Tiki Dress from her book. In the end, I chose Gertie's dress because I've been wanting to create something from her book. Plus, I want to look sexy, ok?
 Anyhoo, I've made a muslin, cutting a 6 on top, tapering to an 8 at the waist. First thing I had to do was straighten the hips. I was not blessed with those gorgeous curvy hips that most women have. Nope. Mine are as straight as they come. Then I had to do a 1" swayback adjustment and I also pinned out about an inch from the lower abdomen. I'm not sure what was causing it, but I did my best to transfer it to the flat pattern. Here are the results, documented via crappy iphone pics.
Crappy iphone fitting pics. Gertie's Tiki dress. HELP

Crappy iphone fitting pics. Gertie's Tiki dress. HELP

Crappy iphone fitting pics. Gertie's Tiki dress. HELP
 Now, nevermind that this is made from a wrinkly sheet and ignore the's my sister's. Sorry
for the dark pics. I'm not worried about the bodice, it's very forgiving and I have the fitting all figured out. My problem with the skirt is this; I seem to have fixed the pooling fabric ( I still have a few problems to wrinkle out but for the most part, it's fixed)
What I dislike is the way the skirt just "hangs" off of my rear. It seems to me this may have something to do with my swayback but I can not find any information on how to get a closer fit under me bum. I googled it...the results were disturbing.
 So, help me out. Is this just to be expected of the pattern (and I'm just expecting too much va-va-voom) or is there something I can do to fix it?

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Top 5: FAIL

Top 5 of 2012

When it came time to come up with my Top 5 FAILS, I felt very similar to Tiffany of Twilltape. There wasn't anything that stuck out as a huge disaster, just a lot of stuff that I stopped wearing over time. Most of it turned out to be better in theory than in reality. Some of it still just doesn't work with my current wardrobe or lifestyle and one item is a WIP that I've just been too overwhelmed to finish.
Simplicity 2215
I love these pictures. And overall I loved this outfit. But I so messed up that skirt. I made it completely backwards and while it's "ok" to wear, it's not perfect and that bothers me.

Colette Hazel
  Yes, I agree, this dress is pretty cute. But it looks HORRIBLE on me! Terrible! I wore it all the time this summer, too. But every.single.time I passed a mirror I'd cringe at how wide it made me look. The seersuckers stretches out a ton by the end of the day and it ends up looking like a potato sack. Plus, I do not own a bra that doesn't show at the top. I end up having to wear a tank top and it just ruins the whole look. This has become a dress I only wear around the house.

Colette Peony
::sigh:: Such a waste of fabric. I love the colors, love the fabric, love what this could have been. What I don't love is the way this dress fits. I actually wore this once, for a wedding. And not a single person commented on it. Actually, someone complimented the tights I was wearing with it. That's a huge sign to me that there is something wrong. I also don't love how I gave up on it. I am determined to revisit Peony and make it work, but unfortunately, this dress just doesn't.
 Simplicity 2451
  I hate these pictures! I have NOTHING in my closet that goes with this skirt well and this it ended up being a tiny too big, as you can probably tell. The fabric, a cotton sateen, wrinkles like crazy. I don't hate this skirt, I just rarely wear it.
Simplicity 4044
This skirt was meant to be a birthday present for my sister. It came together quickly and I was almost finished with it when I had my sister try it on. It fit, but her lackluster response to it just blew the wind out of my sails. She just wasn't a fan of the aline style on her figure. Anyway, I royally screwed up the scalloped front. What is that?? Ugh. I still have plans to finish it, eventually. For now, it's my cat's bed (which explains the hairiness of this picture).
I think my lesson to be learned here is that I need to stop making skirts. I'm drawn to them because they give the illusion of being versatile and they're easy but I don't wear them as often as I'd like. I also need to focus on fit. Most of the things I shun to the back of my closet just aren't flattering or poorly fitted.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Top 5 of 2012: What I loved

Top 5 of 2012

Have you seen Gillian of Crafting a Rainbow's Top 5 of 2012? All the cool kids are doing it. What a great idea. Without further ado, here's my Top 5 Favorite Creations.

Simplicity 1806
   I love this dress. I wore it a lot this summer and it's so light and airy. I started wearing this adorable black bow belt with it. I haven't been able to fit it into my winter wardrobe so I'm pretty sure it's on hold until spring, but I can't wait to pull it back out of my closet and wear it again.

New Look 6808
   Hands down, the most worn piece I've made. I pull it out at least once a week. I should really make more. The colors go with everything, it looks great tucked in or out, it's comfortable and stylish.
Colette Lily
 Ok, so this dress I have some mixed feelings about. I LOVED the way it turned out but I've lost some weight since I made it and it just doesn't fit well now. Plus, it's *so patriotic I've only worn it twice...once on Independence Day and once to the beach over my bathing suit (which hardly counts as wearing it). Still, it was the first dress I made that was extrmemely well received and I was very proud of it. I love love the pattern, though. I adore those deep pockets. I can't wait to make this dress in something more versatile.

New Look 6107
  This is obviously a recent make but it's already a staple. I can dress it up super sexy or play it down. I'm so proud of the construction of this skirt and I feel like it sums up the skills that I've learned this year of sewing.

Colette Macaron
  My Colette Macarons make the list for 2 different reasons. My final Macaron, the "Winter is Coming Dress" is by far the most viewed and favorited item of clothing I've made. \ And I never wear it. I liked it at first, and I like the way it looks but something is off when it comes to the arms and that makes it  so uncomfortable to wear. Isn't that funny? My wearable muslin made BurdaStyle's front page "Featured Member Project" over a weekend and I got a HUGE kick out of that. Plus, I've worn it tons. The colors are really good on me and it is unbelievably comfortable. I ended up having to turn up the lace on the hem because the fabric was fraying to badly but it's still gorgeous.

  Things have been a bit dead here on the bloge lately with the holidays and I want to be able to keep in touch with all my readers so I'd like to extend my social media contact info again. I use Instagram a LOT and if you can put up with my pictures of my children and Brandon Flowers you should add me: EverFive. I've never got into Twitter because no one I know did either, but I've recently made friends with people who are using it frequently so I'll probably pick up there. Please follow me @FiveEver

Monday, December 10, 2012

I treated myself to: Lucky Lucille

   As most of you know, I'm still new to this whole blogging thing. When I first decided to jump head first into this community, I was nervous and unsure about the whole idea. I still sometimes feel like I'm stuggling to find my blogging "voice" but with every positive comment and new follower, I'm feeling more and more thankful and welcome into this little world.
    Back in July when I very first started, Rochelle of Lucky Lucille was one of the first "bigger" bloggers to give me a little boost of confidence. She featured my seersucker Hazel in her "Hazel Parade" and I was so honored. While I was watching from the sidelines of the original Sew Colette I was in awe of her creations. One after another, I couldn't wait to see what she could do to a pattern. Rochelle was one of the first people to inspire me to make my clothing my own. To have her recognize me for something I had made was a big deal to me.
  When Rochelle mentioned she was opening up her own little online boutique, I knew I would support her. To be completely honest, I would have purchased from her no matter what. As it turned out, I loved EVERYTHING she listed and I impatiently waited for the day when I would have some extra funds to treat myself to something. 
Grainline Scout Tee

     Lucky Lucille's recent restock coincided with my pay day and I quickly snatched up a Victory Hair Scarf in the Skull and Scissors fabric. Rochelle had the package on it's way to me the NEXT day and I had it in my greedy little hands before the end of the week. We're talking less than 5 days from ordering to receiving (I think it was more like 3!). Granted the packaged came from Vermont and I'm in Virginia (V states represent! heh) but still, we're talking lightning fast shipping. 
Lucky Lucille
  The hair scarf came wrapped in Lucky Lucille's signature colors, red tissue paper tied up with aqua yarn into an adorable bow.

Lucky Lucille

 She included one of her cards and look! The hole she punched in it is heart shaped! Too freakin cute.

Lucky Lucille

 There was a sweet handwritten thank you on the invoice (ummm, even her handwriting is cute!! This woman oozes prettiness from her pores!).

  I know that all these small deals are trivial but this is what I LOVE about purchasing from small businesses. $11(headscarf price plus shipping) may not seem like a lot of money but it was still $11 of my money. In this day and age, when we are brainwashed to believe we need MORE MORE MORE, it's nice to spend a small amount of money on an item or two and really feel like you treated yourself to something special and be appreciated. The little personal touches like this make me feel like I've spent $100 and definitely fill me with contentment.
   I'm sure all of you can relate when I tell you that I have a habit of inspecting seams and stitch lines whenever I receive something that was handmade. When my mother orders new purses from etsy, the first thing I do is turn them inside out and inpsect their guts. I don't really expect to find flaws, I just appreciate another persons' handiwork. Well, even if I HAD been looking for something wrong with this hair scarf...I wouldn't have found it. The stitches are straight and even. The points of the scarf are perfectly turned. The little Lucky Lucille tag is even stitched perfectly.

Lucky Lucille
Lucky Lucille
Lucky Lucille

  So, it was shipped fast, packaged gorgeously and extremely well does it perform? You guessed it, it's kind of awesome. Ok, really awesome. It's JUST a head/hair scarf/band. How did she make it special?? Well, I don't know but whatever she did, it works. I have a small, odd shaped head and the scarf had no problem staying put. When I tied the ends in knots on top of my head, the points didn't stick in all different directions. They looked perfect without even trying. I styled the scarf two ways so you can see it's versatility.
Grainline Scout Tee
Grainline Scout Tee
Grainline Scout Tee

 So, there you have it. Rochelle of Lucky Lucille rocks (and so does Lucille!). I can't wait to purchase from her again.
(Disclaimer: I purchased the  hair scarf of my own accord and was in no way compensated for this review. My opinions are totally my own and 100% true! Mama didn't raise no liar. haha!)

Saturday, December 8, 2012

I'm guilty of this you should know this

Grainline Scout Tee
Grainline Scout Tee

 I've gone into Forever 21 a couple of times and it always turns out to not be a very bright idea... My ADD goes into overdrive in that store. There is no rhyme or reason to how it's layed out (or at least not obviously) and I jump from item to item, unable to pick any one thing. I am completely unable to make any decisions, it's like I freeze up from all the options. It must be hell to work there. I realize that this store is also kind of "evil" as far as fast fashion and ethics are concerned. Which is why I never purchased anything there. Except this one time. Yes, I'm guilty of giving F21 money. In my defense,  I was desperate for something wear to a particular event and I had no time to make anything.  I conceded and, against my better judgement, decided it wasn't wrong to buy one cheap item from Forever 21 since I was in such a pinch (both financially and time wise). As I said, my ADD kicked in and I spent what felt like only 15 minutes frantically digging through the racks. That five minutes turned out to be an hour. I'm not sure what's going on there but it's like a huge time void in that store. Anyhoo, I ended up with this flowy, sheer button up blouse with a peter pan collar and a slight hi-low hem. Something I usually stay away from... the flowy sillohette. I wore enough of that type of clothing when I was pregnant. Still, I was drawn to this top and, aside from fitting a bit tight through the shoulders, I loved the way it looked on. I paid only $17 for it, which really seemed like a bargain. Until I noticed that after one wear, the shirt was already tearing at the freakin seams! Ugh. I've never shopped there again (although I do go into the store for sewing inspiration.)
   I learned 2 things from this episode 1) quality is reflected in price and 2) I shouldn't be afraid to try different sillohettes. And 3) Forever 21 really is evil. I've since purchased similar "flowy" tops and I love them all. After all the fabulous versions of the Grainline Scout Tee I've seen online, I had been considereing making one for some time. When I went to Grainline's blog and saw this tutorial for modifying the back, I knew I needed it.
Grainline Scout Tee

Grainline Scout Tee
   The pattern was exactly what a PDF should be. Small and easy to put together. The tutorial for modifying the pattern was clear and easy to follow. I cut a straight sz 12. I ended up taking in the side seams enough to justify cutting out a sz 10 next time. The shoulders are a bit wide for me so I'll shave about a half an inch off the next time I make it.
Grainline Scout Tee
Grainline Scout Tee 

 The fabric is Voile from Anna Marie Horner's Innocent Crush line. I've previously used it on my unblogged Colette Truffle. It's so soft and gorgeous.  This entire garment is sewn with french seams. It is really a pleasure to wear.

 I shot these pics on an super warm day. I can't believe it's December, it's been so pretty here in NoVa. You may also notice my head scarf. It is from Lucky Lucille and I just love it. I have a review post coming up in the next couple of days so I can share with you how wonderful this thing is. Talk soon!

Monday, December 3, 2012

In the dark for awhile now

New Look 6107

 I've been knitting. A lot. I have 3 projects started and not one finished. I knit like a snail. If a snail had hands. Or arms. And knew how to knit. In other words....I knit slowly. All that snail knitting makes me anxious for something finished and I knew that I needed to get up off the couch and sew something but I just couldn't find the energy to do it. No sewing mojo.

 On black friday I finally picked up Gertie's book and read it cover to cover. It made me want to go get lots of tattoos. And cut my bangs super short and be as gorgeous and cool as Gertie. And it made me want to go hand sew an entire garment. No, not really (to the sewing not to the ripping off of Gertie's style). What I really wanted to do was go make something and make it well. Enter New Look 6107

New Look 6107
 I love houndstooth. So awesome. It can be kind of professional and then totally punk. I haven't been able to find fabric that has a huge houndstooth print on it so I settled for a mini one. It looks more business than party which is pretty impractical for my life. Just like these shoes. Gorgeous but so stupid. But seriously,  sometimes I just want to feel like I'm some sexy business lady that gets to get all dressed up every morning and not a stay at home, homeschooling mom who sometimes doesn't take her pajamas that so bad?
    Yes, I do realize that this combination of black and white and red kind of makes me look like a vampire. I'm pale. Oh well.

New Look 6107
 I cut a straight size 12 with no alterations. The fit is fine but I think I need to start doing a slight sway back adjustment because I always have a rumple of fabric on top of my tush and maybe a full tummy adjustment. I'm not sure if that's the proper name for it but I do have a little bit (ok, a LOT) of baby belly left over from my 4 kids and the fabric stretches weird across that area. Which draws attention to it and that is the LAST area I want people to notice. Because of the style of skirt, my ass also looks massive. Not in these pictures because I chose flattering pics where I'm kind of sucking everything in and standing just so. But really, in person, it looks quite um...large. Note to self...wear spanks with this skirt.
New Look 6107
New Look 6107

 I lined the whole skirt in lipstick red lining fabric. The waist facing is hand stitched and I also slipstitched the hem with this rayon hemtape I bought from Sunni recently. I installed a lap zipper using one of my vintage zippers. I've done a lapped zipper a couple of times but I think this is my best one yet. For the first time I actually understood why I was doing the steps instead of blindly following them and I think that allowed me to get it just right. And look at all that matched up houndstooth! Go me! My only critisism is this particular view did not have a kick pleat and I think it could have used one. It's hard to take long strides in this thing. Which makes me look kind of derp. 
New Look 6107
New Look 6107
Look how well it all matched up! Go me!

New Look 6107
Blurry, but look a lapped zipper and matched up pattern!

  In conclusion, aside from the monster ass issue, I love this skirt. It looks and feels like something more expensive than what it is. After this skirt I finished another project and I'm already half way finished with a third. Yay for sewing mojo!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Sewing Inspiration: Bernie Dexter

    I rarely let myself by RTW anymore. I just can't afford it, plus it fits better if I make it myself. That doesn't stop me from browsing online stores, scouring for inspiration. Lately I've been obsessing over Bernie Dexter's clothing line, specifically her dresses. For any of those that know of her, she's a modern pin-up model with an uncanny likeness for Bettie Page. Her clothing line is 50's inspired, full of Rockabilly goodness. Everything is made in the USA and I just love it all. Unfortunately, her prices are so high, I can't ever justify purchasing anything.

    Her dresses in particular are to die for. From what I understand, Bernie has a hand in everything her line produces and if so, I'm impressed. Her eye for elaborate prints is amazing. I especially love the fabrics she chooses that depict a scene. I'm a little afraid of prints as a whole. I don't mind wearing them, I love looking at them, but I'm terrified of creating with them. I live in fear of going *too far. Bernie Dexter's dresses DO go too far...and look fabulous anyway! I would never dream of making these fabrics into the elaborate dresses she does and yet, it works! I mean, look at these!

 I'm totally inspired by it all. The one dress that has really caught my eye is her new Christmas dress. I must have it and since I can't afford $225, looks like I'll have to make it myself. I'm having a hard time sourcing appropriate fabric. I figured it would be no problem finding a quilting cotton in a Thomas Kinkade-esque scene, but it's proving difficult. I'm not giving up, though. I have a goal of recreating this and wearing it to my husband's annual company Christmas party. That's the only time of year I get to really dress up, ha!

 It's not just the prints I love, though. I also adore the style of the dresses, these two in particular.


   So help me out, dear readers. Have any ideas for patterns and fabrics so I can recreate any (or all) of these fancy schmancy dresses?? What do you think of them? Are they too over the top?