Friday, March 22, 2013

Ugly Is In The Eye Of The Beholder

Simple Simon and Co is having a You Can't Judge An Ugly Pattern By It's Cover party right now, which I am enjoying oh-so-much.  You see,  I love me some ugly vintage patterns.  I've always had a thing for them.  I seek them out whenever I thrift shop.  I often visit a local Salvation Army that's just a treasure trove of ugly patterns.  I have a whole stash of super duper ugly patterns that I've purchased because I want to see some sort of potential.  It really is fun to giggle at some of the awful things that pattern companies have put out over the years.  Most of the time it's not the actual pattern that's terrible, but the styling on the cover.  Like this McCalls pattern from 1992.

 My first thought when I picked this one up was awesome dress for a pregnant jester.  In fact, I probably should have made this one up as a maternity dress.  But something about it drew me in.  Was it the stripe?  The buttons?  The fact that I desperately love that tent silhouette even though it doesn't always love me?  I'm thinking that this might be a really nice dress for me this summer while I'm nursing a new little bub.  I can see it in something super drape-y and maybe slightly sheer over some skinny pants.  Some nice voile or burn-out.  Anyway, the ladies at Simple Simon have invited others to link up their ugly patterns and I have thoroughly enjoyed checking out what everyone has posted.  So I'd thought I'd add a couple more.  I actually can't find my mega stash of ugly patterns right now.  It seems I've misplaced a box or two in all my nesting madness at the moment (almost 38 weeks, friends-- I am so tired of being pregnant).  But these two are pretty darn ugly, methinks.   I can usually find a redeeming quality in a sewing pattern no matter what the envelope looks like.   This one, however, I'm not so sure about.  

Will I ever need a shirt with an attached concha cape?  Maybe, just maybe.

Any ugly patterns in your stash?  Go share them over at Simple Simon and Co.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Groovy Mama 3.0

Alrighty, friends.  This is the last of the maternity clothes around these parts, I swear.  I realize it was probably a little foolish to make two maternity dresses so close to the end of my pregnancy.  But I don't regret it.  I got a rush from being able to have my choice of two different dresses to wear to the baby showers I've had recently.   I get what some of you were saying about sewing things that make you feel good at this stage in pregnancy.  True.  So true.  And on a sidenote to any irl friends or family who read my blog: Thank you so much for the awesome baby showers you've put together and traveled long hours to attend for J and I.  We feel so loved and blessed.

Look!  The sun is out!  Come on spring...

I actually made this dress several weeks ago.  Before the wrap dress.  Or I should say I started it several weeks ago.  It's from a vintage Butterick maternity pattern.  I couldn't find a year anywhere on the pattern, but with that collar I'd say it was the early 70's.  I obviously didn't sew it up exactly as drafted.  I really liked the inset yoke, placket and gathering over the top of the belly.  I also liked that the pattern didn't call for jersey.  Everything I've made for maternity wear has been out of jersey.  I was craving using a drapey woven for something.  The recommended fabrics listed several different wovens and also double knit.  Double knit really doesn't behave like a stretchy knit, does it? 

I knew it was a risky make when I started out.  I figured it would be fantastic or be a giant, dated muumuu with the print I chose.   I had a weird burst of energy a few weekends ago and I made a muslin.  I managed the corners of the inset yoke just fine, but struggled with the bottom of the placket.  I decided life was too short and extended the placket to the end of the yoke.  Solved that issue and it was way easier to sew.  I tried out several different buttons and didn't like the look of any of them.  I left the placket without buttons.  It's tacked shut about halfway down.

I was very happy with the fit other than taking in the back princess seams quite a bit.  I predict that a swayback alteration will be a common one in my future now.  So I went ahead and cut out my fashion fabric.  I used a 100% percent polyester crepe that I found on the bargain table at my local fabric store.  Now before you go and judge me, answer me this:  If you can't use 100% polyester for a groovy 70's sewing pattern, when can you use polyester?   I really liked the print.  Every pattern piece is underlined with a super soft navy rayon challis (which you can see on the placket) so the poly never touches my skin anyway.  I think the combination worked well for this dress.  I actually sat down and basted my fashion fabric to the underlining by hand in the same weekend.  Like I said before, it was a weird burst of productiveness.

I sewed up the dress right away but I was stumped about the sleeves and collar.  The dress then sat for a while until I finished it right before one of my baby showers.  I knew I didn't want the giant 70's collar.  Even the collar stand piece looked large and exaggerated.  Instead, I cut a piece of bias and bound the neck edge.  I like the way the placket looks partially open.   The bound edge is simple and wasn't fussy.   I also knew the sleeves would be too slim for my liking.  I did a major slash and spread, cut them off at elbow length and then put in some elastic at the sleeve hem.   The actual dress hem is pretty bad.  I turned it up twice and machine stitched.  What is the proper way to hem something that has been underlined?  It was a little stressful getting an even edge.  I used my serger to finish all the seams inside.  Love that machine.

This photo cracks me up.  It's a classic sewing blogger pose-- touch hair and look down at feet.  Little do you know that I can't actually see my feet :)

Sewing has been a godsend during my pregnancy.  I'm so happy I was able to make somewhat stylish things to wear without spending an arm and a leg.  This was a situation where I was so thankful I can sew.  Click here if you'd like to scroll back through all my maternity wear posts.

And here is the 36 week belly from all angles.  These photos are from this past weekend.  I am only a little over three weeks away from my due date at this point.  I can't believe it.  I am so incredibly excited about what's to come yet so anxious about how much there is left to do.  Thank you all for all the well wishes and good vibes during my pregnancy.  I really appreciate all the support, advice and commiseration!  I'll probably be pretty quiet around here for a while, but I'll have some news at some point I'm sure ;)

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Big and Bold

Ok, I'm going to pick on my mom here just a little.  I was in the middle of sewing this wrap dress (and another to-be-blogged floral dress) when she made the comment that maybe I shouldn't use a large floral print because it would make me appear bigger.

Bwahahaha!  Bigger!

Hehehe.  Snort, snort. Chuckle, chuckle.

She may be right.  But there is no hiding my size at this point.  May as well celebrate it, right?

After all the gray and black and blue things I've sewn during this pregnancy, I was really itching to sew something bright and colorful.  I am so ready for spring.  I love this dress.  Love it.  But boy was it a pain to sew.  I never want to see any wiggly rayon jersey again.  Or at least for a while anyway.  This is the other Burda maternity pattern that the wonderful Tj of The Perfect Nose traced for me.  I still can't believe her kindness and all the effort she went to.  I feel totally guilty that I asked for probably the two most difficult patterns to trace; a jacket that had eight billion pieces and this gigantic wrap dress.  When I say gigantic, I mean gigantic.  I've never seen pattern pieces so large.  I know Tj was cursing me as she was taping multiple sheets of paper together to trace.   I have to say it again, Tj-- You rock!  Thank you so much. 

When I first got the pattern in the mail, I thought I would be swimming in fabric.  Turns out when you are eight and half months pregnant that is not the case.  It fits pretty well.  This is the pattern with no alterations except taking about two inches off the hem.  Although I do think I took much larger seam allowances than the pattern called for.  It's very hard to be perfectly precise when using rayon jersey.  I know I took it in a bit just from trying to make everything match.  I did my first ever rolled hem on my serger.  It turned out ok.  I should have used a decorative thread in the right needle spot but I just used the regular old serger thread I bought.  I sewed this dress with the sewing machine and the serger.  I basted the seams on the sewing machine first and then took it to the serger to run it through again.  It was just too much jersey to mess around with.  It was quite difficult to wrangle it all.  The pattern is relatively simple, but the amount of jersey made it a difficult sew.

The facings flipped out terribly.  There was no way I was going to under stitch all those wiggle rayon facings.  Not that I think it would have helped anyway.  So I just top stitched with a narrow zig zag.  I'm calling it a design feature.  And I think it will keep the neckline from stretching out too much.   The pleats at the top of the sleeve cap are from the imprecise nature in which I sewed everything together.  I pinned in the sleeves and whatever ease was left was pleated at the top.  I love the big blouse-y sleeves.

I almost didn't make this dress.  I actually ordered two other fabrics before I finally settled on this knit.  One was an ity knit that was so incredibly heavy and the other a crinkly poly jersey that was too sheer.  Word of advice: just say no to poly knits.  This rayon knit came later.  It was a tiny bit sheer in the pink and white flowers.  So I lined it with tricot.  How do you pronounce "tricot" by the way?  I'm sure it's not the way I say it in my head.

  Ignore those wrinkles.  It feels like a sleazy bathrobe inside.  Which is great for a pregnant person.  Tricot reminds me of Halloween costumes.  I'm not entirely sure I would line something with tricot again, but it worked really well for this dress.  It keeps the jersey from showing every lump and bump and it cuts down on the sheer factor.  It was like having a slip attached to the dress.  I wore this dress to a baby shower this weekend.  It was fantastically comfortable.  I'm planning on wearing it every other day until I deliver.  Just kidding.  But I do think I will wear it a lot in the next few weeks.  And maybe I can wear it post delivery for a little while anyway.

And here is the bump at 35 weeks.  Four and half more weeks to go, my friends!  
Assuming she's punctual, of course.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

I Am Overwhelmed... the generosity of online sewing friends!  I seriously do not know what to say.  I can't believe how awesome kbenco is.  She claims I won a mystery prize on a giveaway she had on her blog.  I received the most wonderful package in the mail the other day.  When I opened it, I was totally overwhelmed by just how awesome this little corner of the blogosphere is.  Who would have thought an online friend on the other side of the world would knit the most precious little cardigan for my almost-here baby girl?

 Kbenco, you rock.  I love it.  I especially love that dusty pink color.  And the smocking magazine made me smile.  I presume that's so one day I, too, can make the formal dress of my daughter's dreams :)   I can't wait to put my little girl in to that cardigan.  So much so, that I practiced on piglet.

J says that the pig in clothes creeps him out.  But it makes me laugh.  My aunt knitted that pretty little hat. 

I would also like to say thank you to little betty who, out of the blue, sent me an email congratulating me on my upcoming arrival.  She also sent me her baby bonnet pattern, which she sells here.  I am super excited about making cute bonnets this spring and summer.

And I want to thank Sown Brooklyn for her giveaway during Sew Grateful Week.  I won my choice of pattern from Victory Patterns.  I chose Nicola, if you were wondering and I can't wait to make it up when I no longer have this gigantic belly.  Sewing blogland is awesome, y'all.  Seriously.

In other news, I am also overwhelmed..... by this.

Yes, that is my bedroom.  I have gone in to some sort of crazy hormonal nesting mode.  We decided we better go ahead and finish our bedroom before the baby gets here.  It was the only room in the house (besides the bathrooms) that has not been redone since we moved in (two years ago).  In fact, it didn't even have baseboards until this past weekend.  J is working hard trying to get it all done.  I am the supervisor.  We are camping out in the guestroom with piles of clothing and other various things all around the house.  I had to clean out my closet.  My closet.  The only room in our house that is not turned upside is the nursery.  I guess that's the most important room right now anyway.   

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't a little worried that the baby will arrive before we've moved back in to our room.  Baby better stay put for at least three more weeks!