Friday, January 29, 2010

The Red Woolingbone Dress!

It is complete! My very first dress. I am pretty pleased with how it turned out. I tend to be hard on myself when things don't turn out perfectly, but then I remind myself that if it was perfect, it wouldn't be hand-made. I need to cut myself some slack... this was my first dress for Pete's sake! Take it down a notch! When I first started this little sewing journey I expected to be fumbling aimlessly a lot more and a lot longer than I have been. I think i've been doing darn good with no one teaching me except myself! I have gotten myself to where I'm at, and I MADE THIS BEAUTIFUL DRESS!

It's called the Red Woolingbone Dress! It's made out of this light-weight red/natural mix herringbone wool-blend, hence the name.

The pattern I followed was Butterick 5316, and to be honest I ditched the instructions about halfway through! They weren't hard to follow or anything, I just liked my way of doing things a little better :)

I think it fits my body beautifully, it really balances out my features. I'm relatively busty and the bodice of this dress fits nicely over "the girls" shape, but keeps them from stealing the show. It pays tribute to my hour glass with darts at the waistline in the front and back, and pleats in the front of the skirt. I have done darts before, but these were my first pleats. They were easy peasy. This was also the first garment that i've lined, and boy was that a pain in the butt. I don't think it would have been as bad if it had been paired with something thinner and less stretchy than this wool-blend, but I think I am going to skip the lining from now on and just make a nice versatile slip to wear underneath my garments. The lining restricts the movement of the dress as well. The stretch in the wool means nothing with the lining attached. It's just a lesson of preference and choice, I suppose. This was also the first blind hem I have done. What a useful skill! I watched a video on youtube, read the little excerpt in my machine's manual, attached the foot, and away we went! I will definitely be doing this on many of my skirts in the future, especially my pencil's. And yet another first was setting in the cap sleeves. This was pretty easy, too, yet the illustration in the pattern instructions showed them going in upside down... like the part that was notched to attach to the shoulder was shown being the bottom edge of the sleeve. Luckily, I ignored the picture like I tend to do and put them in how I thought they should go.

A back view of my beautiful zip and a little peek at the ruby lining (in the sleeve):

I think this is my best zip yet!! Hand basting it in first made a HUGE difference in how it went in.

But lets go back to the hem, shall we? I love the length and shape of this hem now, but it caused me much frustration. The combination of the stretchy wool and the taut lining made for no picnic when trying to sew just a plain ol' rolled hem. It started off smoothly, but when I got to the end the wool had stretched, so I had a lot of excess all bunched up on one side of the slit on the back of the skirt. I started to rip it out, but it only tore the lining and made small holes in the wool that stretched open to make big holes. Man, it was a mess. I thought the dress was toast. I spent a good hour and a half ripping out the hem, and only got a couple of inches free of thread. There was only one solution... I had to chop it off and start with a clean slate (and a substantially shorter dress!). So that's exactly what I did, and am I ever glad. I really pinned everything together good, measured everything exactly and tried to keep some of it's length intact. This also gave me an opportunity to try the blind hem, which proved to be a much better choice for this particular dress. I was a little worried that it might be inappropriately short, but its really the perfect length. It doesn't come in nice and sharp toward the knee like in the picture on the front of the pattern (because I hacked that part off!), but I think it still looks to be a good combination of classy and flirty.

All in all, this was a wonderful dress to start with. It had a lot of good basics and firsts for me. I can't wait to wear it tomorrow!

Monday, January 11, 2010

A few things for a few people

Toward the end of my Christmas break, I completed a few projects for family and friends. I made some basic curtain panels for my boyfriends mother, and they turned out splendidly! I didn't take a picture, as they are just burgundy curtain panels and I believe you can imagine for yourself what they might look like.

I did some patching on the sleeves of my boyfriends favorite sweatshirt, which was pretty shredded. It was a pain in the butt, but it made him happy :)

And finally, I made some cushions for my parents ride to Florida! My mom's Honda CR-V is still pretty new so the seats aren't broken in yet. Even my young tush gets sore from a long ride in it! It's about a 24 hour drive to Florida from my mum and dad's, so they requested I whip them up a little something to make the ride more comfortable. I had some 2" high density foam from my chairs left over, so I made removable covers for two 20x20 inch pieces of the foam. I just kind of did my own thing and made up the design as I went along, and I think it was another success!! I picked a nice cotton fabric that is easily washable and light. I made a zipper panel on the side of each so the foam can be replaced/removed for washing of the casing. I think these are my best looking zips yet!

For christmas, I recieved personalized labels to put on my creations, and at my parents request, these cushions were no exception! Aren't they fabulous?

They were huge! I tried to tell my dad they might be a little large and in charge, but he insisted in a "full coverage" cushion, haha!

And miss Zowee wanted to get in on the photo shoot!

Ok, so now that I am back at school, I am going to start sewing for me again! With my new dress form in tow, I am going to finish my little herringbone wool dress this weekend! I'll post pics when it is finished :)