Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Five Favorites (Vol. 2)

How about a bit of link up fun???


1.


Whitney Pants Sewing Pattern

What a cutie pie!
I just heard about this company and already I can't wait for an excuse to stop window shopping and begin collecting their sweet patterns for my two little girlies.   

2.

Anything the wise interwebs have to say on the topic sheers!


Go here to learn a super smart tip for sewing seams on sheer fabrics from those awesome people over at BurdaStyle.  I'm about to embark on a major sheer fabric project and I'm looking for all the help I can get.  

3.


Guess what I need?  One of those fancy shmancy laundry rooms...you know...the kind with windows in them and other such wonders, because I am totally itching to buy some Wash Day cottons and whip up some fun curtains and basket liners.  Irons and clothespins and polka dots, oh my!

4.

The fact that this fabric even exists.


The thought that there are still places where fabric is created at the level of art makes me smile.  What I wouldn't give to touch a bolt of superfine Italian suit wool!  (And I just have to point out the price tag because, holy moly, at $279.99 per yard, now we know why some suits cost more than my college education!)

5.

Sewing adventurously.


Ms. Sunni over at A Fashionable Stitch put together this sexy little slip and it got me to thinking about how happy I would feel giving my hard earned money to a specialty fabric shop instead of the nearest lingerie mega store.  And oh the pretty possibilities ;).

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Thank you for stopping by for Five Favs!  Head on over to Hallie's place for more link-up fun.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Maternity Makeover -- How To Turn Regular Jeans Into Maternity Jeans


I am NOT a fan of maternity jeans.  The cheap ones are generally ill-fitting and the expensive ones are, well, too expensive!  This is the fourth pregnancy I've surveyed my collection of regular old jeans and wondered...could it be done?  Should I? Dare I? Take the plunge?

Pre-pregnancy I bought a pair of brand new AE jeans on consignment for cheap.  For whatever reason I didn't wear them very often and when I went to switch them out of my drawer in favor of more maternity-friendly pants, it occurred to me that they might be the perfect pair of jeans to destroy alter in my quest to expand my current wardrobe.

Quick!  Tale the picture before we bust the button!

I found a style of maternity jean to serve as inspiration:

Only $195!  And free shipping!  (source)

The inspiration maternity pair had wide black elastic and a small insert, but I would have to improvise.  I would have to work around the metal tacks on the pockets of my jeans and find a substitute for the wide elastic (budget allowed for this project = $0.00).

Challenge accepted.

For the improvised elastic inserts, I decided to sacrifice a pair of small cotton/lycra knit leggings from my kids huge-o-stash of black leggings.  Then, instead of cutting the insert small and trying to sew anywhere near the metal pocket tacks, I decided to make the insert large enough to get rid of them completely.

The "before" picture of jeans and leggings.

I plotted out the cutting line.

Used a curve and a white pencil to mark a line

Because of the tack right next to the side seam, I cut a seam allowance at the waist band and then cut right up next to the side seam the rest of the way down. The side seam would have to be sewn to the insert with a raw edge.  All of the other cut edges would be turned under about a 1/4th of an inch.  (When you see the later picture of how I pinned it, this will make a little more sense.)

cutting in progress

To eliminate bulk, I trimmed off as much excess inner fabric as I could -- especially the fabric facing the waistbands that you can see in the picture above and (cut out) in the next picture.


Once I was ready for the insert, I cut up the leggings.  I'd trim them down later.   (By the way, please pardon the flash photography.  More often than not, it's sew by lamp light or not at all in this house.)


I pinned like crazy!  First I pinned the cut edges under, and then I pinned the insert.  Then I topstitched about an 1/8th inch from the edge of the denim with navy thread.


The basic Viking H-Class sewing machine I borrowed from my brother powered through the seams without too much encouragement on my part.  Thank goodness!!!  Denim always makes me quiver in fear of total machine rebellion.

This side took two attempts to get it right.

The cut-out from the first side made a nice template for the second side.

The side without the coin pocket was much easier!

After trying on the jeans to check the fit, I trimmed out most of the extra knit fabric inside.


Voila!





I do wish the inserts could have ended a bit higher on the leg, but I'm not overly bothered by a bit of peek-a-boo knit now and again.   By the time my shirts aren't long enough to cover both my tummy and my pants, I'll have outgrown this pair of jeans anyway!


You can't tell very well in the pictures, but I also trimmed down the width if the leg openings and hemmed them properly so that I can wear them with more ease.


Much better.  Except for my timed picture skills.  Those could use some work!


I'm pleasantly surprised with this pair and am itching to do more maternity alterations.

I think I may have acquired an unhealthy willingness to take a pair of scissors to all of my non-maternity clothing. ;)

Have you tried a maternity jean make-over?  Do share!  I'm looking for more ideas...

p.s.  I know what you are thinking...girl, are you even pregnant?  You don't need maternity pants! Yes, rest assured, I am indeed pregnant (five months!) and (for better or worse), my usual side shot looks more like this.  If you are as curious as I am to see how this style fits with a big round belly, though, no worries!  I'll check back in with a photographic update later on.  Pinky swear.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Dress Finished {and a Bridal Shower}


As you darling readers recall in previous posts (part 1, and part 2), I've found a cute little Adrianna Papell dress at Goodwill for a steal, but it needed a bit of down sizing!  Not-so-perfect-fit, ey?



Well, as promised, I'm back with a view of the final product and a picture of my lovely soon-to-be-bride sister at her bridal shower last Sunday.


I had fully intended to take a few close-up shots of the dress for your critique but with all of the prepping and hosting and chit-chattering, the day got away from me too quickly!  Might I offer a picture or two (or maybe more :o) of the bridal shower, instead?


Come on in...



(More circle garlands in this post.)



We decorated with my grandmother and great grandmother's embroidered tablecloths.


And pearls.





My three older sisters and I:


All said and done, the dress turned out to be delightfully comfortable! I'm glad I chose to make the bodice snug to balance out the potential mumu factor of the skirt.  Not that I minded the skirt's looseness -- my expectant belly fully appreciates freedom! And heck, at a passing glance, the bump is rather well concealed :o).


Success!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Alterations In Progress -- Adrianna Papell Dress (Part 2), More Sewing Chit Chat and {needle & thREAD}


Oh ya'll.  I don't even need to tell you how silly it was of me to attempt a photographic blog journal-ish sort of thing to document altering my thrifty find, do I?

The "before" picture of the dress I've been working on.
After posting Part 1, I began working again...at night...under the light of Suits (we're on the second season) and a single lamp.  Bad photographic things happened.




They hurt the eyes, don't they?  I'll spare you further pain!  Suffice to say, I did finish the dress and the rest of the alterations included:

* Separating the lining all along the bottom of the bodice (something I hadn't originally planned to do).
* Reattaching the back straps.
* Taking in the bodice at the side seams (top to bottom).

Daytime sewing.   (Also our messy floor and proof of  the existence my fourth child :o)
I could have sewn straight through the bottom band of black and called it good, but I decided to keep the nice finish.

* Fixing the change in width between the front and back of the bodice at the side seam.


* And copious finishing work, trimming, and thread cutting.

I promise, promise, promise! to dedicate an entire post to the final product soon.  But for now a sneak peek?


Very glad to check that project off of my list!  Every time I sew, and most especially when I do alterations, I am reminded that seamstresses are sorely underpaid.   Sewing is never as frustration-free as it "should" be.  Oh, I always think my newest project will be easy.  I envision a flower-strewn path along which I'll travel from point A to point B with grace.  Never happens!  Maybe someday I'll be able to sew "as the crow flies," but for now I'll continue along my squirrelly routes.  I do enjoy a lot of hard-earned victory dances!

So anyway, my next to-do is to sew a different tie and hanky for this 18 month suit.  Is it not the most adorable thing you've ever laid eyes on?  I'm hoping to save a few bucks and refashion a men's tie.


If you recall, I also need to figure out a dress for myself for next month, but I returned the crazy gray chiffon fabric.


I couldn't wrap my head around the perfect design for my preggo self and that fabric needed the perfect design!  Instead, if I can find a suitable lining (I've come up empty so far), I'm considering a shimmery light gray chiffon:


This Butterick pattern caught my eye -- maybe the pink, sans the middle band (to make it maternity friendly).  I'm thinking understated elegance and also a way to hide my legs.  Perhaps a high-low configuration of some sort for the skirt?  Who knows what will happen once I get a pair of scissors in hand :o).

  

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As far as reading goes, there is a lot of this going on at my house:

What does the chicken say??????

And a little bit of preparatory reading.


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That's all for this week.  I'm linking up with needle & thREAD today.  Head on over and see what everyone is up to!