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1  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Latin-style knit and lace skirt on: March 13, 2014 08:17:06 PM
I am SUPER proud of my latest creation! My boyfriend and I have been taking ballroom dancing lessons for a few weeks (we are THE WORST, but we have fun), so I finally have a reason to wear some of clothing I make. I was looking for some inspiration pattern-wise when I saw this one (it's V8908), and I fell in love. The best part is that it turned out exactly how I imagined!

I was really brave with this one. I've previously had bad experiences working with knit, but I just took my time, and that made all the difference. The Chantilly lace and knit are also separate fabrics that I basted together, so that added a lot of time and little bit of worry to the project. It ended up turning out just fine, though. The last step is to French tack the lining, but I actually love the look of the satin peeking out. What do you guys think? Does it look like it's meant to be that way, or should I tack it?





A friend of mine is dancing the Cha Cha in a showcase dance, and she wants me to make her one in red (I think I'll recommend black lace). I'm a little nervous, because I've never had to extrapolate a pattern before. But I think I know where to start. Wish me luck!
2  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / A very discouraging project...don't underestimate curtains (img heavy) on: December 13, 2013 06:05:04 PM
A couple months ago, my boyfriend and I bought our first house. Woohoo! As soon as we started closing, we went inside the house and took measurements so I could make curtains. I got some basic tips from Diana Rupp's book SEW and bought my fabric. Now, this entire time, I kept thinking, "Rectangles. I can sew rectangles. I've sewn clothing for myself, and I'm so picky about how things fit my body!" Joke was on me. I don't know what my deal was, but I seemed to mess up every measurement, every cut, every stitch. Anyway, after several weeks of slaving away (seriously, this project was so much bigger than I'd expected), I finally finished my six sets of upholstery suede drapes.

A couple things I learned the hard way from this project (and advice from others):

1. The book SEW explained how to figure the number of rings you need. Really, it was exactly the method I had figured. But after several times of confusing the heck out of myself, I figured out a WAY better way. Fold your curtain in half. Make a small mark on the inside of the fold with chalk. Fold the left side into the center. Mark this as well. Fold the right side into the center. Mark likewise. Keep doing this until it looks like an appropriate amount of rings. WAY easier and more dummy-proof than calculating, especially when you're sewing the rings like I did.

2. Wider rings work so much better. Some of my curtains have one-inch rings. They were harder to sew on straight, and they didn't help keep the curtains' shape as well. My guest bedroom curtains have three-inch-wide rings, and they look so much better and were much more manageable.

3. This tip is the most important: Cut your curtains like you would any other projects (that is, accounting for the hem) except ADD an additional inch or two to the bottom. Cut, sew, hem, finish, etc. the top edge and both sides. Leave the bottom raw. Hang the curtains and let them drape for a week or two. THEN go back and hem the bottom, making very sure to measure carefully, because many windows are actually not straight due to settling of the house. If you don't have time to let the curtains drape, at least take my advice and hem the bottom very last after carefully inspecting the actual length that needs to be hemmed. I very wrongfully assumed that, like all the other hems, I would just hem up the amount that I calculated. Turns out the stitching had shortened the sides more than I expected, so the corners of my curtains are extra-high.

Hope you have better luck than I did! And sorry the white balance is really off in these pictures...

Living room:



Bedroom (just realizing how brown it is...geez) (did paneling, because I got too little blue- did the "little leaf stitch" in blue on the brown hem and in brown on the blue hem where the panels meet):



Office:



Office:



Guest bedroom:

3  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Discussion and Questions / Replace window with drywall nook on: October 02, 2013 07:47:48 PM
I've been searching around the internet for a particular project that I thought would be more common but apparently is not (or I don't know how to find it).

I just closed on my first house last Friday (yay!), and I want to make a modification to one of the windows. This window is in our dining room and currently looks at the side of the neighbor's house. If we can turn the carport into a garage, this window will be staring into the garage. Either way, it's totally unnecessary. It currently has two towels nailed up just so nobody can look inside.

Anyway, I want to remove the window and fill the space with drywall to make a little nook where we would keep salt and pepper, knick-knacks, etc. But what do we have to worry about for this project? Can we just put a layer of insulation between two sheets of drywall?
4  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Blind hem stitch on upholstery on: September 19, 2013 07:40:26 PM
I'm making drapes for our new house, which we close on in a week. I want desperately to do a blind hem stitch at least along the bottom (already gave up for the side hems), but I cannot make this work. The thread just wants to stay really bunched. I've tried increasing the stitch length. Is this happening because I'm using very heavy fabric and/or thread? Do I need to change tension? Ideas on how to make this work? Oh, and I'm using a 110/18 needle. Biggest they had.
5  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Simple wrap skirt on: August 25, 2013 07:42:13 PM
I guess I didn't have to say "simple," because there aren't many projects simpler than a nice wrap skirt:



The only thing I don't like about it is that the pattern doesn't match at the seams. I didn't think about buying enough fabric to do that until I'd already gotten home from the fabric store, and I wasn't willing to pay for another cut of the same stuff. After all, who's paying attention?

Anyway, it's super comfortable of course. I wanted a neutral color and had found a pretty fabric that mas mostly cream-colored, but then I realized I'd have to wear a slip with it. So I settled on this one; I really like gray.

This, by the way, this is yet another project I've made out of the book S.E.W. (Sew Everything Workshop) by Diana Rupp. I can't get enough of her patterns. My next project will be out of her book as well. I just spent $300 on fabric for curtains (upholstery-grade suede) in my very first house (I close in a month! Eeeee!), and the book has nice, basic guideline for curtain measurements.
6  CLOTHING / Clothing: Completed Projects: General / Little Black Halter Dress on: July 01, 2013 10:18:46 AM
Yaaay! It's entry day! I see that nobody else has posted anything past me and am starting to wonder if I missed a memo...?

Anyway, here's my latest creation:



And the button closure on the halter, although I don't plan to ever unbutton/rebutton it (I just slip it over my head):



Here's a closeup of the button flower necklace:



I did use a pattern. Burda 8174 to be exact:

http://www.simplicity.com/p-7244-burda-style-dress.aspx

I made view C with only minor modifications (like adding an extra line of topstitching on the bottom hem) and just one that was very noticeable. I made the bodice and then realized it was several inches too large. But the seams would be in all the wrong places if I just cut from the loose ends that would later be attached to the zipper. I cut the center piece of the front of the bodice exactly in half and sewed it back together. That took away 1 1/4" for the new seam. The bodice was then the *perfect* size! Seriously, the seams lined up with the skirt and everything! I did topstitching on that new center seam. I thought it looked really nice and gave it more of a corset-ish look.

The button-flower necklace was not my idea. It came from here:

http://www.scatteredthoughtsofacraftymom.com/2012/02/no-sew-fabric-flowers.html

I did a variation on the one-circle "pattern." I cut 3 circles: 1 black denim and 2 purple tulle. I layered them and sewed them together straight down the middle, folded the tulle over to one side (left side is now 1 layer denim, right side 1 layer denim and 4 tulle), and then continued with the pattern as if it were one circle of fabric. I think it turned out really cute.

Comments and questions very welcome!
7  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / Cutting patterns on: June 25, 2013 06:53:48 AM
Several months ago, I bought myself some Gingher scissors (dressmaker's shears and pinking shears)- the really, really nice and really, really expensive ones. I know for a fact that cutting paper is the worst thing you can do to scissors (unless you enjoy dull ones), because you're essentially cutting wood. Pretty much everything I've read and heard is that your dressmaker's shears are solely for fabric. But I was reading a sewing book yesterday that said you should cut out your pattern pieces with scissors around the general shape, pin them to the fabric, and then actually cut on the lines of the pattern with the dressmaker's shears. That just screams "against the law" to me. Is this small amount of paper cutting negligible? Do you cut your patterns on the line before pinning to fabric (I always have)? Thoughts?
8  CLOTHING / Clothing: Discussion and Questions / Burda pattern grain line on: June 12, 2013 09:36:11 AM
My efforts toward the little black dress challenge are in full swing, and I'm super excited. I'm sort of stuck, though.

This is the first Burda pattern I've worked with, and I'm having trouble deciphering something. I laid out all my pattern pieces the same way as the miniature pattern layout. But if I'm interpreting the grain orientation on the pattern pieces correctly, they're all wrong. I know the first thought is that I just need to rotate the fabric 90 degrees, but there's no way that's what it wants me to do. The pieces wouldn't fit that way, and the fold would be in the wrong spot.

I've tried to go with logic, but I'm not even sure about that. I would think that for the bodice, you would want some stretch horizontally, right? It's stretch denim, so it does matter.

Please let me know if that was way too confusing.
9  HOME SWEET HOME / Crafty Housewares: Completed Projects: General / Sewing machine cozy on: June 09, 2013 10:01:36 PM
Here's another fantastic project I got from S.E.W. Everything by Diana Rupp. I haven't made anything out of there in some time, but the projects are just begging for it. This was my first time working with oilcloth, which I've discovered is about like any other fabric in that it has its pros and its cons. Anyway, without further ado...

I made this cute oilcloth cozy...



...to replace this boring, factory-made cover:



The store really only had a few oilcloth prints, but I found myself having an internal battle over whether to use this or a pattern that was white with black polka dots (I love black and white). Either one would have turned out equally as cute.
10  SEWING IN GENERAL / Sewing in General: Discussion and Questions / The Poor Man's Dress Form... on: June 09, 2013 11:58:10 AM
...or "the creepy silver mermaid thing."

I have a dress I want to alter as well as one I want to make, and I'm sure that there will be plenty more of each category to come. Real dress models are super expensive, though, so the "poor man's dress form" as I call it is perfect for now (one day when I'm rich, I'll spring for a nice one).

First of all, I cannot and will not take credit for this idea. It comes from Subversive Seamster, which is an excellent book mostly focusing on clothing reconstruction.

Second of all, this was meant to be a video tutorial. I had spent days figuring out in my mind exactly what I was going to say, what order I was going to do everything, etc. It was funny and informative, and it was going to be my first ever tutorial. It was gonna be GREAT. But, as my boyfriend and I discovered as we were moving onto the last step of the process, the memory card had been full just after my introduction. So after several minutes of staring in silence at my creation, we finished it up and took this picture:



Now, I've scanned the pages of the book that show how to make this, considering the whole video thing went south. But would it be illegal to post that? I wouldn't think so; I'm not making money off it, and it's just a few pages, but I want to make sure beforehand. Otherwise, I'll give my own rendition.
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