Back from a hiatus…

I’ve been taking a break from sewing while I focused on other things. I have done a couple of projects here and there, so I’ve decided to post photos now that I’m sewing again. Enjoy!

Most recent project: Rayon challis panel-print dress, spring 2017. This is nothing more than two rectangular panels with a partial side seam and a drawstring casing at the top. It was super easy and amazingly comfortable, and shows off the print beautifully! I have more of this fabric, so I will be experimenting with it more in the near future. Please disregard the laundry basket. The crop feature failed me just now… but everyone has these lying around the house, right?

 

This is a half circle with lots of gathering at the waist made from 60″ wide polyester print with full lining, sash, and elastic waist. I created this for my program’s graduation. More pictures of this later.

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I’ve been making bags lately- the inspiration was a partly that I bought a new bag and it was too small and partly that outdoor fabric was on sale and it sounded like a fun idea to make a bag in tropical banana leaves. The outer shell and top of the inner lining are outdoor canvas, which I’m hoping will weather the abuse I put my bags through better than my previous attempts (cotton home dec fabric) did. The rest of the lining and the inside zippered pocket are still cotton home décor fabric, though. I added a key keeper for fun. My mom liked mine so much that she asked me to make her one too, so after >16 photos of outdoor fabrics at JoAnn, she picked the red/orange/green foliage print and I documented all of my steps for her to follow along. =) Those are my two Brother machines photobombing in the background. Love those little guys!

 

 

This was a quick scrap-busting project: travel Kleenex covers! My mom used to make these so I had her send me a photo of one that she still carries with a ruler next to it. I devised my own pattern and then made about 10 of these one afternoon and gave them to my in-laws.

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Easter dress: my own wrap dress pattern in a mystery clearance polyester fabric (horrible to work with!!!!!) Fully lined, maxi-length, true wrap, cap sleeves.

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Cotton A-line maxi skirt with full lining and interfaced wide waist- I need a final photo of this. I made it around Valentine’s Day for a night out with my hubby and friends. Ironically, the day I wore it to work I found a blog entry online advertising Pellon interfacing by using it in a wide-waist skirt. Using the exact. same. fabric. Great minds, no? The first photo is of the scale miniature mock-up I did to try to maximize the hem circumference with the amount of fabric that I had using the slash-and-spread method for creating an A-line skirt. I somehow ended up mis-measuring my waist and cutting the waistband too small (!) You can see from the scale pattern that there was NOT much room for that error! I re-used the too-short waistband on the inside and narrowly found enough fabric to re-do the outside in the correct length. This was supposed to be an easy sew. It was not. Lesson learned: measure THREE times, cut once!

 

Curtain for a half-bath remodel. It was clearance red-tag home dec fabric and red-tags were half off. Hubby asked “…so did they PAY you to take it??” =P

 

Black lace-back cocktail dress with box-pleated skirt. I think this would have been better with a half or 3/4 circle skirt instead of the box pleats, but I still like it. The dress is in a poly satin and the sash/belt is a velvety textured ribbon- combined with the cotton/poly lace, I was going for a study in textures. The back lace piece was pre-made, from Amazon/China and was super cheap, but took months to arrive. I altered the shape of the lace at the top sides a bit to blend it with the shoulders of the dress. This took a lot of planning and prep work. I think I did several iterations of the bodice before I settled on a modification of my personal bodice pattern. Plunging necklines are difficult to get right, especially when fitting yourself.  I wore it to my department’s Holiday Party this past winter.

 

This dress has a story…

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My grandmother used to sew for herself and her four daughters. When it became clear this past summer that she would not be coming home from the nursing home to live independently and that she would soon need more income to pay for the nursing home, my mom and her sisters decided to clean out and sell her house per her wishes/with her blessing. During the clean-out, my mom found a ton of fabric and saved some for me since I like to sew so much. On inspection, this fabric was already pinned and cut for a size 20 dress. My grandmother passed away that winter, right after I had a chance to bring the fabric back to my home. I tracked down the pattern online and ordered a copy in (what I thought was) my size. Then, I practiced on broadcloth, tracked down a different size online (one-size pattern envelopes???) and tried again. Happy with the fit, I overlaid my size onto the pre-cut pieces and finished the dress that she had started. It was a fun process. I learned some new techniques in the process, and every time I pressed a seam my sewing room was filled with the scent of “grandma’s house”- the kind of familiar mustiness that is only pleasant to the person for which it triggers memories…

The dress is not my style. At. All. But it does have a certain 80’s-channeling-40’s charm. I’ve worn it to work and it’s had a good reception, so I’ll likely continue to wear it, if for no other reason than it reminds me of her =)

 

I did several projects surrounding my sister-in-law’s wedding. First, I made her a bridal shower gift of a self-drafted apron made from I Love Lucy fabric (the theme of the shower) with polka-dot ruffle and red bottom-weight cotton backing and ties. I used the leftover ILL fabric to line her card basket. Next, I inserted a side zipper into my form-fitting lace-back bridesmaids dress to save time/effort on the big day. I was the only bridesmaid at the church on time 😉 I also altered the flower girl’s dress. SO MUCH TULLE!!! She was so adorable! I also gave the bride the veil I wore at my ceremony after I blinged it out with sequined and beaded trim that I hand-sewed to the edge. The leftover trim was used to wrap over the ribbon on her bouquet. I enjoyed all of these projects so much!

 

Rayon sundress modeled after one of my favorite little knit pull-on dresses from college. This was finished this past fall and worn for my sister-in-law’s goodbye brunch, before she moved to Ireland with her new husband.

 

Final thoughts: the curl game is getting stronger. These days I’m using Suave Naturals coconut conditioner, Curls brand Crème Brule curl cream, Carol’s Daughter alcohol-free gel (soft hold) and my trusty long-sleeved T-shirt to plop for 5 minutes and no more. Recent insights- the curls reeeally do better if I do NOT touch them AT ALL after I take them out of the t-shirt. It’s so hard not to fuss and scrunch, but on the days that I take the t-shirt out, bobby pin and forget them, usually Saturdays, when I don’t care what they look like so I don’t try to “fix” them… ironically, they turn out AMAZING.

Have a creative day!

-J

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