Sunday, August 31, 2014

Candy Cane Striped Skater Dresses

Yes, I know, it's a wee bit early for Christmas stuff. I apologize for contributing in any way to the phenomenon of the Christmas onslaught beginning before Halloween, but I wanted to make some matching dresses for my nieces for their holiday card photos, so a bit of forethought was necessary.

I had some great red and white striped knit in my stash, care of the Real Martha (meaning it's old-school, maybe from the early '80s) that I thought would be perfect for Christmas dresses. Combined with the Kitschy Coo Skater Dress pattern, which worked out so well for my nieces earlier this year: Christmas-worthy (but still wearable in a non-Christmas setting) candy cane-esque dresses!  They've got a bit of a Where's Waldo feel to them, but nothing a cute kid can't pull off!

I love this pattern... so cute and so quick! I can cut and sew one together in about an hour if I've got everything set up.  Not much to say about construction. Like last time I made it, I did the neckline a bit different than in the instructions, inserting it in the round. Otherwise, by the book.

Can't wait to see them on the girls!!

Monday, August 25, 2014

Polka Dot Yaletown Blouse

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Ikat Print Prefontaines

Whew, that was a long sewing break!!  I'm super happy to get back in the game with this quick win:

Made with Moxie Prefontaine shorts!!  A belated birthday gift...  I love my panda pair so much, I thought I should share the Prefontaine goodness.

Hopefully my somewhat tragic fabric placement in the front of the shorts doesn't irk the birthday girl!

I made them with Amy Butler Kasbah faux-ikat fabric, remnants from my Meghan dress from last year. The navy ponte trim (also used on my previous pair of Prefontaines) is leftovers from Tim's Newcastle

These Prefontaines came together like buttah.  What a great pattern... 

Hopefully the birthday girl will share photos of her rocking these Prefontaines once they arrive at her place!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

My Makes Featured! Also: Cats

Long time, no post! We had a wee bit of a health crisis here at Chez Cookin' and Craftin' over the past couple of weeks. No worries, everyone is better and back at home after a hospital stay. Needless to say, I didn't get any sewing done recently.  

In lieu of new sewing, here are some cat photos. Specifically, my cat invading my sewing space. Well, the tangled undercarriage of my sewing space. Dude loves to craft. And has some impressive chompers:

While you'e at it, check out these other blogs, where some of my recent makes have been featured!  
I'm honored!!

My Summer Jazz Dress was featured on the Snapdragon Studios blog.  Do take a look at their cool stripey version of the Summer Jazz Dress... makes me itch to make another one soon!

My Moneta, MyrtleMegan and Vogue shingle dresses all made it onto the Curvy Sewing Collective August round-up! Love that site... what an awesome, talented, and confidence-inspiring community!

Thanks, ladies!!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Back in Black: Moneta

Dooooods.  My first Moneta, the one made from fabric that earned me the scorn of the cutting lady at Joann, was so comfy, cute and easy to put together that I was destined to make another right quick.

This all-black Moneta is definitely not the most show-stopping or thrilling piece I've ever sewn... but I am pretty sure it will be among my most worn.  It's basically a blank slate for accessorizing.  Need a backdrop for an enormous necklace? a colorful scarf? a particularly loud blazer or cardigan? Solid black Moneta responds "Yes, please, choose me! Accessorize the shit out of me!"

Par exemple:

I won't say much about the construction of the dress because I did exactly what I did for my first Moneta, which is to say I followed the directions to a tee.  The only change I made was to cut out the 3/4 length sleeves, which was actually more of a pain than I thought it would be, purely because I had to sort through the PDF pattern to find the pages corresponding to the longer sleeve pattern in order to print them out.  Mayhaps Colette could make things easier on that front in the future by identifying the pages or making a separate file for the various sleeve options?

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Stretch Denim Megan Dress

When Tilly, of and the Buttons fame, first released her book, Love at First Stitch, I was super pumped about the patterns, particularly the Megan dress. But I was also sad because I couldn't figure out how I was going to get my hands on it here in Thailand.  It's not even released in the U.S. yet!  Then it   occurred to be that I'd had lots of good luck finding English-language sewing and crafting books at the Japanese bookstore Kinokuniya.  Sure enough, there was exactly one copy of the book at Kinokuniya in Bangkok, so I rushed to get my hands on it. Woop woop! Sorry, not sorry, other BKK sewists!!* I probably overpaid for it, but it's mine, all mine!

The fabric: Tim brought back a bunch of fabric he bought on a recent business trip to Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon), Vietnam. When he told me that his hotel was near Ben Thanh market,  a lightbulb went off in my head: I remembered that Jenny of Cashmerette has written a post about fabric shopping in HCMC and had spotted some cool stuff at that particular market.  I casually mentioned it to Tim and shared the blog post with him, not thinking anything would come of it.  Much to my surprise and he returned with oodles of fun fabrics: floral printed stretch denim in two weights, dip-dyed gingham, super lightweight and breezy madras plaid... Dude definitely got the husband of the week award!  And thanks to Jenny for pointing him in the right direction!  I used the lighter weight floral stretch denim for my Megan dress.

Anywho, back to the Megan dress: so cute! I really love the dart/tucks on the bodice, and I dig how they meet up the the darts on the skirt... nice lines!  Sleek, but not tight in any way.

Here's a close-up of how the the darts of the skirt and the dart tucks on the bodice meet up at the empire waist... good stuff:

I muslined it using an old sheet to make sure the bodice worked and because I was worried about the skirt being tight in the hips.  But the skirt pattern has a great curve to it, so hippy ladies rejoice!  The bodice was great for me, no changes made. The sleeves are a wee bit poofy for my taste** and I was nervous that the gathered sleeve heads would be too bulky in the denim.  

Here are the changes I made:

- Because I was using stretchy fabric, I determined that I didn't need a zipper and I omitted it, cutting the back skirt and bodice piece on the fold, minus seam allowances, of course, to eliminate the back seam (yay! two cheers for stretchy fabric)
- I added 1.5 inches to the skirt length
- I ultimately left the sleeves off and used bias tape facings instead
- I used bias tape on the neckline and skirt hem, too.
- I topstitched the waist seam to tack the seam allowance up towards the bodice because it kept rolling down

I was worried that the light-colored printed denim would give the dress an unfortunately trashy '80s or early '90s look (google "floral denim dress"... whoa, not for me!), but I think the final result is quite cute!  It helps that the denim is more grey than blue. Paired with a cardigan or blazer it's good to work for the office.*** Plus, it goes with my wedding jewels (which I made, see here).  They haven't seen much action since I got married, which I was feeling bad about, so, winning!

* PS: are there any other BKK sewists out there? I know Adrianna of Crafterhours and Hey June was living here until recently, but anybody else out there?

** PPS: Anyone have any good recommendations for a tutorial on how to remove gathers from a sleeve... i.e. how to change a sleeve pattern to have a smooth head?

*** I wore my stretch denim Megan to work on Monday and got 3 compliments within 15 minutes of arriving!  And it was super comfortable all day, so, double win.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Myrtle Mania

I've been quite happy with Colette's recent patterns for knits, Mabel and Moneta, so I downloaded the latest, Myrtle, right away. And then our printer ran out of ink and we couldn't find replacement cartridges. Wah waaaah.  But there is a happy ending!

Fast forward a couple weeks and I finally got the pattern printed up, taped together and ready to roll! I decided to go the woven route after receiving an order from chock full of rayon challis (my new favorite fabric after making and wearing my lovely, flowy Summer Jazz dress).  They had a sale and I may have gone a little crazy... for my first Myrtle I went with this navy fabric printed with various blue and green roses (seems to be sold out). I'm not sure roses are my bag, but the colors totally are... plus they're kinda in keeping with Colette's whole vintagey-modern style, no?

I was gonna make Myrtle with a speckled rayon challis I had also ordered, but when poking around on the internet scoping out the other Myrtles, I saw that Leslie at Stitchin' in my Kitchen has already done exactly that and it looked awesome.  That might be my next Myrtle... imitation/flattery, etc.

- I went with View 1, the longer length with no shoulder tabs
- Size L graded to XL at the hips, just in case (although that was probably unnecessary)
- Cut the back skirt on the fold to eliminate the seam (not sure why that wasn't on the fold in the first save fabric?)
- My back-of-the-neck bias tape didn't end up quite reaching into the shoulder seams... next time I'll make it extend past the edges and then trim afterwards
- After sewing the front and back together, I  ended up with some weirdness at the armpits: tiny points sticking out of the side seams. It's mostly unnoticeable with the printed fabric and because of the location, but I'm sure I screwed something up...
- I fed the elastic through after sewing the waist seam up so I didn't have to stretch as I went

I love it!!  The fit is great for me. The cowl hangs beautifully. I love how comfy the elastic waist is, but don't think it looks to elastic-y, if ya know what I mean. The skirt is a great length and width. Awesome, cute, comfortable.  I think it will look equally good with flip flops on the weekend as it will with heels and a cardigan or blazer.  I will definitely make another one before too long... I dig the shirt version over at Nicole at Home, too!

Have you made Myrtle yet?  Planning on it?