Green Square Dress with Bias Detail – Finished!

Here’s my next dress for fall:

After the navy dress, I felt a little hesitation starting this dress. I wanted to make a style that would be unique and push my design skills a little.

I had also been inspired by some of the Dries van Noten dresses which had panels which hung down past the hem. As I made the dress, I also decided to do it without sleeves so I can layer it over a turtle neck.

It was fun to put this together and the fabric is SO SOFT!

I also made sure I used the direction of the stripe threads to make the fabric face the same way throughout the outfit.

First I made a normal dress with a standard back zipper. From there, I played around with the plaacement of the front panel. To add flexibility to the fabric and give it a looser drape, I cut it on the bias (diagonal)

Ta Da!

D is becoming a very good sewing-photo-husband

Last but not least, a great friend was in town from Saskatchewan and we got lunch! Afterward the Equine Immersion Program was having an even called Trail to Zero with NYC police officers and veterans to raise awareness and help prevent veteran suicides. They were riding 20 miles through the city because every day approximately 20 veterans across the country die by suicide. It was very neat to see them have such a unique event and it was great to talk to the people involved.

Also featured – the Tokyo purse
There were probably 30 horses total!

It was a great day! Now it’s time to kick off the process for a few new back to school dress shirts. Stay tuned!

Navy Shirt Dress with Stripes – sewing slowly through tough projects

Here was the game plan! I was so excited to whip through this dress and make a really nice classic look… but… it’s only been going “sew sew” (is that a pun? It’s supposed to be)

The first challenge was that once I was home, I wasn’t 100% sure if I liked this fabric after all…

It felt very classic and sort of like a polo/golf vibe. It’s a cotton men’s shirting fabric. I thought it would be neat to have a striped shirtdress in my wardrobe, but then I started to question if I actually liked it.

At first, I gathered the skirt but it had too much volume. It was not very flattering 😦 there is no picture of this, but beleive me, it happened and wasn’t good.

I tore it off and really thought about a way to achieve a less busy look. After some time, I decided that pleats could be the answer! I hoped the pleats will be flatter yet still break up the stripes and make a nice A line silhouette. It started to get better! I used an inverted box pleat.

Last but not least! I visited F&S fabric store to pick up some unique buttons and made a sash on the bias to finish it up. I also actually hand pick stitched the collar too as inspired by my sewing friend George who showed me a jacket he was working on that used this technique!

Ta Da!

Also I think I’m going to make this a little less anonymous. I dont think it really matters…

With the pleats, it was much easier to align the stripes between the collar, bodice, and skirt! This also makes the sash pop a little bit more since those stripes go diagonally.

Overall, I feel like I achieved the look I set out to create, but I will be a little more discerning with my in-store fabric choices so that I hopefully feel more confident throughout the project.

Last but not least, I’ve learned that the two daughters of my husband’s coworker have visited the blog and are going to be taking sewing classes! Just wanted to say HI! They are about 10 and I really can’t wait to hear about if they like their class!!! They have a very cool Mom for encouraging them too!

Look who tried sewing! The poodle peplum

I am so proud of D! One night we were talking and I asked if he would ever want to try to see how it worked and he agreed that it could be cool.

With that in mind, last night I started to make the poodle peplum to expand further my Carolina Herrera print wardrobe. At first I was working on all the bodice seams for the front and back panels. It then became time to attach them at the shoulder and when I looked at the very straight seam it occurred to me that D could do it!

I grabbed him from the other room and picked up a scrap of I folded in half.   From there I showed him how the presser foot went down and then how to hand crack a few stitches forward. I also briefly lifted up the fabric to show how the shuttle circled around to pick up the thread. From there, it was pedal time! He did a great job going forward and then we backstitch a little!

It was time to try again on the final pass on the french seam! I had already sewn the inner seam and so we flipped it inside out and d sewed it down!! I’m so proud of him! See below for more bodice pictures.

Continue reading “Look who tried sewing! The poodle peplum”

New Shirt Flounce Blouse

After I made this first white blouse from Joannn’s by tracing a shirt from JCrew, I really liked it but when I made it I forgot to account for seam allowances. It was a little tight when it was done.

One day in Chicago it was so hot and humid and I started to go crazy. My sister in law let me borrow a tank top and when my shoulders were free I almost wanted to start buying all my clothes again (omg stretch fabrics are so comfy and I dont sew with them that often)

Something had to change with that white top. I still wear it all the time so I figured it wouldn’t hurt to make a second. I found a white cotton in the eyelet section of mood -it basically has little puffs of threads kind of in a polka dot pattern.

It was time to try and make a new – slightly bigger – shirt!

It turned out great!

Big Blouse Weekend – return of the Blue Squares

After working through a series of fabrics that I had accumulated in my summer fabric pile (the podcast I listen to calls it a fabric collection) I felt like I had gotten to a place where I could think about some transitional pieces for fall and winter and try to make some nicer work dresses with sleeves. I got a few things at mood… stay tuned.

First though, I also wanted to make a few more basic work tops that I could match with all of my skirts and continue to use all of my fabric as resourcefully as possible.

I try to bring some balance to my sewing with this approach too. So if I buy new fabric, I need to make sure I’ve used most of the earlier stuff. Similarly, I try to keep an eye on old fabrics and see if there are cute projects I can use for the leftovers.

A while ago, I had discovered that my blue poodle Carolina Herrera fabric seemed to match the blue squares. I had said I’d make a top. Before I dig into my new fabrics, I decided I needed to make this top so that I still had time to wear it in the summer. From there, I could make another blouse with something new.

See below for the process and final look!

Continue reading “Big Blouse Weekend – return of the Blue Squares”

A Dress Two Ways for a Hot Day

My Grandma and I have matching dresses! She is very fun, active, and free spirited. I though this semi-psychedelic tropical print would be great for summer!

I made her a mumu and embroidered the edge of her neckline with a few beads on top. For myself, I took the remaining scraps and made a little tent shift 🙂

Our air conditioner is broken and we’re having a heat wave. This is the perfect outfit to wear around the house today!

Perfect for the hot weather!

Scarf surprise! Making an old favorite

With the presidential debates starting and a few other shows on tv (the bachelorette) – sometimes you have to find a couch project.

Working on a rolled silk hem

I still have two panels of this Anna Sui silk and I love it so much.

As I’ve started to make scarves, my ability to make narrower and narrower seams has definitely improved. I really enjoy this stitch and I’ve gotten much faster at it.

Here is my attempt to diagram this stitch (drawn while on the train to work lol) blue and grey are thread. White is the folded fabric. Yellow is the needle.

Start by folding the edge of the fabric over towards the inside of the panel. The final hem will be half the width of this initial fold. As you get better, you can make this narrower. It may change depending on the texture of your fabric too. From here, dip the needle into the panel right at the edge of the folded fabric. Pick up 3 or so threads. This is shown in grey in the diagram. Then move to the top of the folded edge and dip into the tube created by the folded edge. Pass the needle about 4 millimeters or a 3/8 of an inch in the tube before popping out. Then try to move to the same exact length of the hem on the lower side of the fabric. Dip in for a few stitches and repeat! After doing about 7 to 10 of these slowly pull the thread while holding the edge of the fabric near the first stitch. All the stitches will start to tighten and pull the top of the fabric down to the lower edge- locking the raw edge in place!! Keep going all the way around the panel and enjoy!!

Part 4: Sewing Jam Investigation & Solution! Blue Square Shirt continues!

After all of the research last night to try and fix my machine, I woke up with some new knowledge but still uncertain of what was going wrong.

Of course this is the project I’m trying to time too lol

9:35am start – I watched this very interesting video about fixing the timing of the inside of the machine.

Inspired, I went to look at my machine and play around…

Dun dun duhh!!!!

O.M.G. this little guy at the top had lost it’s thread!

Here it is fixed:

I think this means that there wasn’t enough tension on the top string to pull the string on the bottom off the shuttle. This may have been causing the double-loop-underneath situation.

Next time, I will rethread the top of this machine sooner in the investigation process.

It’s interesting to know how everything works now!

9:57am – it’s sewing time!!

Yay! This collar is going to look so nice!

11:20am: time to take a break for tennis, lunch, grocery shopping, unfortunately dishes, & some baking ahead of visiting friends.

Hanging out with friend was awesome! I may actually have a future sewing buddy! Stay tuned for possible updates there in the future.

Sewing time today 1.5 hrs

Total project time: 4 hrs 40 min

Blue Squares Shirt – Part 3 & a Surprise Challenge

First off – thanks for all the laundry tips and comiserating with me! It seems like we have all been there in terms of destroying things in the laundry 🙂

Today is a great day because it’s time to start sewing this project. I can’t wait to see it come together!

Starting off… I took a nap and woke up feeling so so…

Feeling better at 8pm start

Making the plackets and sewing some stay stitching to strengthen the neckline. Turns out this fabric has stretch O.o maybe the fabric name evil squares was accurate after all…

Then it was pocket time

Then it was back panel time

Time is 9:00 and I need to take a small break. It’s weird to write online but frankly my stomach feels so so 😦 I am going to lie down on the couch briefly.

10:00pm Now I finished talking to my parents on the phone and it’s time to start sewing again!

I attached the front panels to the back shoulder and it’s looking pretty good for line alignment. This is definitely a more unusual fabric for a dress shirt and the stretch is making it a little different and I have to be extra careful not to pull on the fabric otherwise I’ll get wavy seams.

From here… something started to go wrong. The strings started catching within the machine. I would go about 2 stitches forward while I was trying to make the collar and suddenly everything would lock up! The needle string would be too tight for the machine to pull anymore.

I opened up the bottom part and tried to double check the bottom thread and it still had issues… it was time to go deeper.

I unscrewed the floor of the machine and it was obvious I hadn’t cleaned this before.

I then realized I could take out the bobbin holder and there was more dust and thread fluff to clean there too.

After passing the string around a few times it seemed like things were maybe working again so I put everything back in place…

(Metal part added back too)

SNAG! It happened again!

End time 10:50

Research time starts 10:55

Trying to Google and learn what is going on. This video has the scariest intro and most “outside the norm” of any sewing YouTube video I’ve ever seen. Shout out to for. This is the most technical video I’ve ever seen.

This video was helpful but does not describe my issue.

I think I basically have an issue with the bobbin not releasing the thread.

This random shopping website has some details about the timing and at least a good explanation of the issue.

Time for bed 11:37pm

Total sewing time today: 2 hrs

Research time: 40 min

Total sewing time: 3hr 10 min (I will not count research time into this project because I really want to understand how much time the pattern takes)

Blog bug and project idea

Does this match? I think this will be a nice combo for some color blocking on a shirt. A great discovery as I added scraps to my fabric pile!