Shirtdress….Again?

Might retry the shirtdress idea. Got a new pattern and some funky fabric to test it out with.

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Packed Away

All of my sewing machines and supplies are packed away and ready to move. I worked frantically to finish a few projects, including a sleeveless linen top and a deconstructed panel skirt. Not my best work, but eh… The linen top was a pattern I drafted from inspiration from this Burda shirt: http://www.burdastyle.com/patterns/drawstring-top-052012. I used my fantabulous embroidery machine to embroider Rainbow Dash on the front. The drawstrings are cool, but the back of the shirt fell kind of weird. The panel skirt was a tan skirt I got from Walmart (I think). I sliced it and added 6 triangular panels in a great tie dye. That was rushed, and still needs some hand sewing. Oh well, if it’s wearable, it’ll work. Until I get moved, no more sewing for me!

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Polka Dotty Goodness

I haven’t been able to post much lately, or sew much lately either. I have finished the “polka dotty goodness” project, my final project and replaced a zipper on a motorcycle jacket (not well, mind you).

So, I present, a very ucky photo of the polka dots… a baby swimsuit and swim cap. Also not well done… you can’t see the issues with it here. 😉

Oh, I forgot to mention I designed the pattern for this. Swimsuits are hard. The crotch and shoulder seams are messy.

Feels a Bit Snug

First and foremost, WordPress is driving me crazy. It takes me like 6 clicks just to get to this Add New Post screen. That’s too many. It’s too much work.

Second, I am working on too much at once. Trying to sew with a cranky baby is nigh impossible. She was napping for a little bit, so over the past several days I managed to get the shirt dress cut out, darts sewn, and major seams (French, thankyouverymuch) complete. In order to finish this project, I need to get the collars and sleeves on, hem and buttons. And the whole thing feels a bit snug… it was ok at the first fitting, but now it feels snug. That makes me a bit cranky.

Shirt Dress Progress

With the princess seam dress project behind me, I’m moving onto the shirt dress. I have a pattern… Marfy 9876.

And I also like this Simplicity pattern from the 1960s, but I’d have to track it down and buy it online.

But that is all the shirt dress progress I have made. DH and DD have both been sick as dogs all weekend. I’ve made it so far as to pin the Marfy pattern onto my dress form and see if I can make a go of it.

I’m also considering designing a swimsuit for DD. She is toddler size now and I cannot find any bathing suit patterns! The swinwear fabric I scoped out at Joann’s is also three shades of atrocious. This project TBD. Either way, she’ll need a bathing suit for the summer beach excursions. I fully intend to go to 1st beach this summer! (Hear that, DH… yes, we are going to Newport).

Kick Pleats With a Cherry On Top

I finished the dress. Woot.

The kick pleats were torn apart and re-pressed, re-sewn not once, not twice, but THREE times. They finally laid flat, so I said don’t lets do it over again.

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I also sewed the hem with the machine blind hem stitch. (There is supposedly a blind hem foot too, but I didn’t look to see if I had one). The verdict: LOVED. IT. I may never sew a hem by hand again.

Finally, I designed and created my own embroidery accessory for the dress. The cherries were designed in Adobe Illustrator, brought into the “stitcherizer” software, saved as the .pes format my machine uses, moved the file over, and stitched away. I’m not totally liking the stem/leaf part, and there is quite the learning curve with stitcherizing, but I think this certainly opens up my creativity!

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I attached said cherries to a hair accessory: one of those snap barettes. The package made me laugh. So much for translation services.

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Kick Pleats What Kicked My Butt

After spending the entire weekend sewing – thank you DH! – I nearly have a princess seam dress. This was an assignment for the Dressmaking and Design course I’m taking, and I had to adjust the pattern to fit. After making a muslin and tweaking the pattern at the neckline, I scrounged for some fabric in my fabric bin. I discovered I have a good deal of velvet. (Also, several yards of denim! and some brocades). DH decided on the red velvet, and we purchased red lining for it.

The princess seams are not fun, but totally doable. The kick pleats what kicked my butt. I wanted a double pleat kick pleat, so I did some research to try to figure out how to do them. Then, during the process of sewing, I did them backwards (I wanted an inverted pleat). Sigh. So I messed up what coulda shoulda woulda been a very neat dress. What I learned: KEEP YOUR DESIGN SKETCHBOOK NEXT TO YOUR SEWING TABLE! If I had only referred to my sketch during the sewing process, the whole fiasco could have been avoided. The lining was also a challenge, and I think had I not been obsessing about how to line the kick pleats (the answer is to stop the lining at the edge of the kick pleat), I would not have reversed the pleats. I was over thinking it. Yup.

Last step is to let the dress (and myself) rest overnight. Then I’ll do the hems. I also plan to embroider a hair clip to go with it.

  

Getting Pretty Serious

I am doing what’s called “getting pretty serious” about sewing. While I have been slacking a bit in the garment making area, I have been working on expanding my skills.

First, I am taking a Dressmaking and Design course through Penn Foster. While I would prefer a local, hands on classroom approach, it is hard to do so with baby and while working full time. This was the best choice for me right now. I will always consider more education in the future, especially workshops or other hands on sewing experience. This course is actually serving me quite well. I have learned a considerable amount in the first two thirds of lessons that I have completed. There are also activities that get me in front of a sewing machine, with the next assignment to include pattern adjustment of a princess seam sheath dress which I plan to make out of leather (or faux leather at the very least).

Second, I have had the wonderful opportunity to do some alterations. While I have done alterations sporadically in the past, I am glad to be able to use my skills to benefit others. Thank you dear alterations clients!

Third, I have taken the plunge and purchased a very entry level embroidery machine. Embroidery machines can cost thousands. I did not spend nearly that much, so I’m hoping the little guy I got will serve me well. My husband was adorable because he asked if it was something we could use for awhile. Well, it has a 20 year warranty, so… yeah? It uses the PES format of embroidery designs, and it has a USB connection so I can shop to my heart’s delight then transfer designs right over to the machine from my computer. Gotta love technology!

On a final note, I enjoyed Madonna’s multiple costume changes because she is keeping fashion designers and seamstresses busy!

“I’m a material girl… want to see my fabric collection?”  ~Author Unknown

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