"Sew Over It!"

My husband is a wise and thoughtful guy!  You may think that wise-thoughtful-guy is an oxymoron, but I got lucky and snagged a good one.  Now don't think he doesn't have his moments...he is a guy after all, but let me give you an example of his wise ass  I mean, wisdom....

Earlier this year I was struggling with 'what to wear' which translates to 'what to sew.'  I don't have to make a work wardrobe any more so I wasn't sure what to sew.  I was feeling kind of mopey about it and when I described my dilemma to my husband, I said I really didn't need anything to wear...to which he wisely replied, "it really isn't about wearing is it?!"  DING!  Light bulb moment!

Exactly!  It's not about the wearing it's about the making.

So, permission to make stuff that might never get worn...just for the art of making!

"Hey.  Slow down there Pablo, where do you think you're gonna hang that one?"

I also said that my husband is thoughtful.  Specifically, he is a great gift giver.  He remembers little details or picks up on some one's passion and then finds the perfect gift, not the expected one, but the perfect one.

Example:  Just before my birthday he went to London to see his beloved soccer team.  They had finally had a winning season and he wanted to be there. (I have sewing, he has soccer) 


So what does he do while in London...?
He spends time in the fabric department of Liberty of London picking out not just gorgeous Liberty cotton, but a pattern to go with it!  

Let me be clear...he voluntarily, by himself, spent time in a fabric establishment!!!!  And, he did good!

I received 4 meters of wonderful Liberty cotton lawn and a pattern for a 1950's inspired sundress...Happy Birthday!!

I was surprised that the 'trial balloon' of the pattern fit with only minor adjustments.  Just a bit of length to the waist and I dropped the shoulder seam forward a smidge.

I loved the Liberty print, but thought that the dress would be more interesting (and fun to sew) if it was not all the same fabric.  You have probably figured out by now that I am not one for using a single fabric when two...or six!  would be more fun!  

It took some searching and pondering, but my friend Cheryl at the fabric store found it!  Turquoise polka-dots!  Totally had the 1950's color vibe and added the right amount of whimsy for a sundress.  Score!  (It also happened to be the same fabric that was pictured on the pattern cover...when we realized it, we had a laugh about our 'originality')
I decided to add a contrasting yoke and hem to the design.  I used the Liberty lawn for the HUGE full-circle hem and yokes.  I also used it to line the bodice.  The polka-dot I used for the lower part of the bodice and the upper part of the skirt and separated them with a gray quilting cotton (it actually has the names of quilt patterns printed all over it!)

The pattern called for facings, but once you sew and turn the neckline and arm holes of a facing you may as well have added 4 inches and made it a lining - duh!  It's so much nicer to wear and ticks the "as-nice-on-the-inside-as-the-outside' box.  The lawn made a beautifully light lining.  I also added some boning at the side seams and darts to help hold the bodice shape.

When I got the dress together it needed something at the waist.  To keep with the 1950's feeling I tried several versions of a 'skinny' belt.  I tried several vintage buckles from my button box, but ultimately decided on a tie made from the Liberty fabric and the gray.  Simple.

It makes me smile when I think about how my "Sew Over It!" Betty dress came all the way from London for my birthday.  Thanks Honey!  It is perfect!

                                               My beautiful niece at her wedding.


Wine and Leftovers

It's been a tough week at 'Chez Sewphie' and I needed a bit of a pick-me-up.  Something silly and fun, that I could get lost in for a few hours.  

I was taking wine to a gathering later in the week and was trying to figure out how to keep it cold en route...Some kind of 'wine tote'...just the diversion I was looking for!

.........................................I figured I could probably do better....

Here's where the 'silly' part comes in....

Yep, that's a pair of my son's jeans from the mending pile...I promise I will buy him a new pair!

I bet you didn't know that the legs of skinny jeans are the perfect size for wine bottles!

I cut the legs off at the knees and turned them upside down.  I stitched across the cut edge to close the openings and made a 'boxed' corner to give the wine bags some dimension.

I took one of the back pockets and attached it to the outside of one of the legs.  (you've gotta have a place to keep your corkscrew!)

I knew I would say lots of bad words if I tried to stitch the legs together from the inside...so I pinned them from the outside and top stitched them together.  Way easier!

To make a handle I cut the waistband off the jeans and sewed it to the outsides of the pant legs.  

I cuffed the pant legs, popped a corkscrew into the pocket and slipped a white wine in one leg and a nice dry red into the other....and we're good to go!

Very silly, but pretty effective!

Hmmm...I wonder?.....Do you suppose those cut off pants would fit me?....
I couldn't resist!

Here's what I had left after making my wine tote.
(the reason these were in the mending pile was the first set of purple patches I did had worn through...well loved jeans!)

Time for some more silliness!

Some new patches for the worn out crotch.....a new pocket to replace the one that ended up on the wine tote and some more patching to the butt!

I improved the fit with a couple of darts in the back yoke and lined one of the front pockets just for fun, before adding my new cotton print waistband.  I lined the waistband with a heavier cotton check to give it more body, reattached the belt loops, put back the leather label and finished with a jean button and buttonhole.

So....do these pants make my butt look big??!!!!

My new 'cut-offs' are really comfy and I think they turned out pretty cute for 'leftovers!'  

A little silliness (and some wine) works wonders!


Weddings and Lace

Artful 'T' 2....

June.  The season of Graduations and Weddings.  This year I have a wedding.  It's been awhile since I have been to one so I am looking forward to it.  It will be the first of two that I will attend this year.  

I have also been noticing that lace is EVERYWHERE!  Every store I go into, every catalog I open...lace, lace and more lace.  SO....

           Weddings & Lace

...were the inspirations for my second go at an artful T-shirt.

(It also turned out to be my second go at "refashioning.") 

I found this really lovely 'fabric' in the form of an not so lovely top at Marshall's.  It is a sheer rayon and silk blend with an all over silk embroidered design.  It's hard to tell here, but it is a very, very pale pink color.  

I started by taking the entire top apart.  I don't know how I managed it, but I didn't make any holes in the delicate fabric.  (Good thing since there wasn't very much of it)  Whew!  

I piled through my scraps and ended up with some pink linen-look rayon, a green and cream gingham, a cotton lawn print and a couple of embroidered hankies.  I got a yard of a silk twill at Fabrications because it was the perfect shade of pink!  I washed it and it turned out soft and wonderful!

Nice pile!  No clue what to do with it.  It sat in the corner of my cutting table, for a couple of weeks...

I tried the sheer over the silk, then over the rayon/linen...I tried the linen as a yoke with the sheer hooked to the bottom over the pink silk, I put it back in the corner of my cutting table!!!  (I thought about putting it away all together, but it kept nudging me...)

I finally realized that the sheer over the pink fabrics made it look too 'fancy.'  This was, after all, supposed to be a T-shirt!  I tried the sheer over the gingham...YES!  It gave the lace detail something to play against and had a much more casual feel.  

(of course I didn't have enough of the check to do the whole top, so the linen was added as the hem of the under layer and looked good peaking out from the scalloped hem of the sheer.)

I kept the basic shape of the original top to get the most out of the fabric.  The silk twill made a gorgeous bias collar and binding for the back detail and I found a rick rack trim in the same shade of green as the gingham.  I added it to make a kind of picot edging at the hems and down the center back.  (the lawn and hankies are back in inventory for another project!)

To make the 'tie collar' I attached a 4 inch bias tube to the neckline and left a small 'hole' where I wanted the tie.  I then made a 3 inch 'scarf' of the silk and tied it through the hole and around the collar.  It looks like the collar is tied, but it stays in place and I could wear the shirt without the tie if I wanted to, the little hole is covered by the fold of the collar.

Weddings and Lace 
Artful T 2....

Riley wanted to help with the photo shoot!


Do the Part You Know

I'm not sure what it is, but every so often I feel the need to upholster myself!  The big bold prints of decorator cottons just call out to be made into some kind of wearable something!

I got a pattern earlier this spring when I was collecting possibilities to take out to the DOL retreat.  I thought it was really cute and a simple shape that would be a great jumping off point.  I didn't actually use it at the workshop, but got it out the other day when I found (and couldn't resist) a great cotton/linen blend drapery fabric.

I got the fabric home and washed it several times and dried it with a couple of tennis balls to get the sizing out of it and soften it up.  It came out nicely 'rumpled' just the way I like my linen!

I made a 'trial balloon' of the pattern...as simple as it is, I still needed to adjust the shoulder to get the dress to hang right.  I have very broad, square shoulders and the curve of the cap sleeve was hanging up and not laying comfortably over my shoulders.  It was my normal adjustment to the slope of the shoulder seam that did the trick.

I had very large print drapery yardage and a very simple pattern, and no idea where it was going!  I started collecting from my stash....

The simple pattern pieces (actually ONE pattern piece.  When I compared the front and the back pieces, they were identical!) were a good choice for the extra large floral print of my fabric.  As I was draping my dress form for pattern placement, I decided that maybe a long version would be cool, and because I love bias, maybe a bias cut.

Long and bias meant that I would have a very long skirt on one side and a very short skirt on the other side.  I didn't have enough floral print to piece the extra length...so more experimenting.  I found a rough woven linen scrap (I think it was used for throw pillows at some point!  Perfect for the 'upholster myself theme) that actually had some of the mustard and coral colors of the print in it that I could piece for the hem.  Since that's the part I knew, I went about making the hem first.

As I was scrounging for the hem fabric, I also found about a 3" piece of coral colored linen and of course, my favorite, some gray petersham ribbon.  I echo stitched some of the floral shapes onto the linen to add some interest and pieced the coral linen and petersham to add a little extra length.  I lined the inside of the side slit with the petersham as well.

As I was piecing the hem I messed around with the ribbon and really liked the way the ribbons intersected at the side seam.

OK, I had a hem!  Now what?  

When I cut out the pattern I knew I would also have to piece one of the shoulder sections (front and back), but hadn't made the decision about what to use...

Tried a striped linen...not so much...settled on the floral with the stripe covering the seam.

I had made my way to the neckline...

When I covered the pieced seams for the shoulder section I had left long 'tails' of the stripe, just in case, and because I didn't know what I was going to do.  

On the front I opted to finish the 'tail' at the neckline....

On the back I extended it and made a 'strap' that attached at the opposite shoulder.

So...I worked my way from the hem to the neckline making decisions as I got to them.  I love the way the dress turned out (I will definitely make this one again!) and I enjoyed being surprised along the way.  An exercise in "do the part you know."  It's a really fun way to work, and keeps you guessing till the very end...(which may not always be the hem!)