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June 27, 2007

mustard wall flower dress

mustard wall flower dress
photoshoot is more interesting when you have a glass of raspberry champagne (click to see more)

pattern: mccalls 5042
difficulty (1-5): 3
pattern size: 10 (but upper body was close to 8)
fabric: 2 yd of amy butler's lotus in mustard wall flower, kaffe fassett's light yellow cotton for lining, 20" invisible zipper

summer is really all about dresses. especially so in the lives of those anthropologie girls. but honesty, i'm not a dress person, as i've said that last year upon the completion of my cherry bomb dress. i really haven't been wearing dresses all that much.

i think the key was really in the fit. it's really hard for me to find a dress that fits. i did find one few months ago, but that was after spending $200 at saks. it's a good thing that i can sew.

dress-making is bit tricky. especially the look i'm going for is form-fitting. it requires complete honesty with your own body type, which may or may not be an easy thing depending on the day. i now realized that for my size, i have fairly slender torso, average size waist and hipline. and we all know that i'm petite, so that's not a surprise here.

so to make this form-fitting dress, i had to heavily tailor the side seams from arm holes down to the waist, sort of like drawing a v-shape. it's really easier said than done. and i normally just wing it. as such, the result was usually a workable but less aesthetically pleasing one. especially when there's lining involved.

i decided to go for the invisible zipper again. but to add a bit of character, i used a contrast color. though you can not see it (unless you unzipped my dress), it's a nice surprise. i also hand sewn the linings close to zipper. it's possibly the most labor-intensive part of the whole process. but i think it makes the finishing a whole lot less home-made.

adding lining to the whole garment in light cotton lawn, which i got from the quilt shop last year, really added a lot more to a dress. it holds up a lot better, sorry i don't have too many words to describe it structurally other than these airy-fairy comments. take my word: line the dress. it's so incredibly worth it.

learning a new trick is always intimidating at first but completely worthwhile after the trick was learned. this was the case for sewing blind stitch. i popped in the blink-stitch foot, read the instructions, and so glad i did that as it was really really simple. this dress hence, has a lovely hemline.

it took about three days for the making of my mustard wall flower dress. before that, i read what i could find online about this pattern, and was highly encouraged by the resulting dresses i found here and here. i concur with what angry chicken had mentioned, this dress looks a bit goody two shoes for me. but i hope there will be an occasion in my life that would call for such outfit (summer wedding, perhaps?). i already have a pair of lady shoes from stuart weitzman to go with it. i guess it would also go with a pair of red sandals.

in conclusion, i love this dress, it's a testament of my learning to sew journey. and i want to join the club of anthro girls. but i wonder if they require you to have long slender legs?

June 21, 2007

going somewhere

front yard

we will be moving into a proper house in a few weeks. lately, our lives were filled of uncertainties. but at last, we will be moving into a nice little house in a quiet col de sac. and better yet, with an option of buying it later on if we decided to do so.

cats have no idea what's coming, their days of squirrel chasing are finally here again. poor cats, they were not happy with living just inside. they miss the woods. i can't believe that the well-being of our animals had played such an important role when we were looking for a place to live.

and a craft room. i'm tempted to paint it "whispering pine" again. i miss that green. and, we will be able to grill out again.

oh how deprived we've all been living in a town home.

because this house reminds me of a little hut in the woods. i found a set of perfect prints to go with the house. adventure awaits, i hope this new place will bring us quaint and happiness. and lots of fun.

June 19, 2007

simply white

cotton linen dress

pattern: slip dress from japanese craft book
difficulty (1-5): 2 (3.5 for fitting!)
pattern size: 11
fabric: 1.7m of cotton and linen blend in white, self made biased tape from same fabric

as much as i love bright colors and artsy prints (which i will have to show you some oilily items i recently obtained). sometimes, anything more than sedated whites is too much. especially in summer where colors are seen everywhere.

so i made a white dress with a cotton/linen print i've had. the pattern is the dress shown on the cover of this book. it took a little imagination to transfer pattern pieces overlapped one another onto the fabric for cutting. believe it or not, i was trying to find the best way to do it for a long time until finally i bought a roll of tracing paper from an art supply store. i also had a bit of difficulty to line up the pattern pieces as it was entirely cut as biased.

i'm not sure about this dress, fit wise. it was definitely not a form fitting style. i had to modified the fit several times by seam up the sides more than necessary. the pattern pieces were too simple to do any adjustments, so with just side seams to play with, the fitting was not as easy as it should be. of course with instructions being in a different language did not help either.

i think the husband had described it best - it's like the night gown you'd see on wendy from peter pan. but still, i like how comfortable cotton and linen feel against the skin.

anyway, it should suffice the purpose when wearing it over a bathing suit. i had my knitted slip last summer, so at least now i can wear a fabric version without worrying that the straps would come apart.

more importantly, would i try the patterns from this book again? probably. however, i will make a top instead. dress making is a challenge when it come to fit. i may go back to simplicity patterns or alike as you can add more custom tailoring if so desired.

June 13, 2007

crafty love

my mailbox was greeted by the loveliest craft package last week. it was from six.5 stitches. initially i was asked to be part of di's cyber baby shower. one thing led to another, we were negotiating fabric swaps across the ocean!

swap :: 1
click to see what's inside

so here are some gorgeous goodies from alison (thanks again! i'm still gushed just be looking at them!). also, you must go check out what alison had made for di's upcoming baby! the most gorgeous baby quilt. and more!

i have been knitting (surprise!). the sunrise jacket is coming along slowly. it should be ready to wear when autumn comes. i've been thinking about white sands and tropical drinks. i even made a cotton and linen slip for an upcoming vacation (which i will need to post a picture this weekend). talk about advanced planning!

June 05, 2007

who needs serger?

left to right: lock cutter foot, invisible zipper foot, 1/4 inch foot and narrow hem foot

i am a bit fixated on the idea of owning a serger these days. how many of you sewers out there have a serger, i'm a little curious. serger is, in my opinion, something nice to have. and in all honestly, i can still sew and make clothes without having a serger. yet, the idea of owning one is quite compelling.

instead, i decided for now, i'm just going to get more presser feet to broaden my sewing abilities. when i bought this sewing machine, i had no idea if i would enjoy sewing and further, became good at sewing. as such, i did not spend a lot of money on it. now that i know i at least enjoy sewing and making my own clothes, i wish i had purchased a little bit more advanced machine (like the ones with embroidery functions, etc).

so these presser feet are super awesome! unless of course you already knew them. i got all of them from here with very good price. the lock cutter is very handy, it sort of serge finishes for you though i imagine this is probably not as fast as a *real* serger, but it zig zags and cuts off the excess, all at one go. i used this for the first time for my barcelona skirt, you can see the results here.

i also love the narrow hem foot and the 1/4 inch foot. i used the narrow hem foot to finish the lining of my skirt, it rolls and stitches. and i should have discovered the 1/4 inch foot much earlier! it is now deemed quintessential for toy making... more specifically, wee wonderful's toys. i don't need to outline the stitch lines no more, it's perfect!

thank you for liking my herd of elephants! i do plan to give a few away to family & friends. and will be making even more, big and small so i will always have my own herd to appreciate!

June 04, 2007

a herd

i saw this little elephant in one of my japanese craft books. i decided to draw out the pattern and make my version this weekend. the original looks like it's made out of linen but i made mine with some cashmere i have laying around.

cashmere elephant

cute?! i love that it's cashmere (who wouldn't?) and you can't stop with making just one... the herd grows, with a wee one, too!

cashmere elephant