Friday, January 31, 2014

Costa Rica paradise!!

My husband and I have returned from our Costa Rica holiday and it was paradise!!! I had every intention of taking a picture every day of what I wore to share and of even doing a couple blog posts. However, paradise took over and I just let it consume me, sooth my soul with its warm breezes, tropical fruits, Sandy beaches and the best mojitos ever! 

It was just a lovely, romantic soothing to the soul vacation. We didn't worry about any details and just enjoyed each other's company and the gorgeous surroundings.

With that said I did a little counting as I was unpacking and getting back to reality.
I brought 22 clothing items (not counting panties and such)
12 of tese items were either complelty handmade or refashioned.
10 were ready to wear of which 3 of these were Capri tights to wear under my brace.

It was so rewarding to be able to dress myself in my mostly my creations knowing that no one else in paradise was going to be wearing the same thing!

Snorkeling in my new blue bombshell swimsuit

A white button up blouse/sun coverup I made fa couple years ago. Fabric from Mood.
We were on the pacific coast and the sunsets were just amazing!

My purple lace tank hanging out in a hammock!
Had jeans on because this was our last day and headed from 95 degrees in Costa Rica to -5 degrees in Chicago!

Another beach/pool coverup refashioned and transformed from an old dress shirt of my husbands. He big a tear in it so I took it added some appliqu├ęs, chopped the sleeves and added a hood.
Another older creation of mine is the sleeveless swing tank top made out of black ruffle knit cut on the bias. 
The resort we stayed at was just fabulous! The pool was enormous and had several little bridges crossing over it at various parts.
Here I am wearing my nylon net coverup and holding a 'Morito' a fresh raspberry mojito. So delicious!!! Loved it!!

And just to leave you with a little taste of the country! A couple of my favorite pictures of the wildlife.

White faced capuchin monkey.

Big ole crocodile lounging in the mud!

Beach side massage table where my hubby and I had his and hers massage during the sunset to the sound of the waves!

I hope everyone enjoys:)

Next post I have BIG news!!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Colette Patterns: Hawthorn Sundress and update to Bombshell

I finished my dress for vacation. I wanted a nicer dress that had a little retro feel to it. I have been watching this trend and it suits my curves nicely. 

The pattern, Colette Patterns, Hawthorn ( )is quite nice! It comes together very nicely, the instructions are written quite well and the packaging is clever. The instructions come in a little booklet with the pattern in a pocket at the back. 
I did the 13 buttonholes on my machine and was very pleased that they came out perfect, whew! 
The dress has a delicate little collar that is a nice detail as well as darts on the upper back to make the fit nice with no gaping at the back collar. 

This is actually a wearable muslin! I bought this cotton shirting fabric at JoAnn's for 2.50$ a yard! So for 12$ I wasn't worried if I needed to make major changes and it was nice to work in a muslin that had such a pretty print. I originally had planned for the short sleeves on this dress but I HATED them and immediately took them off! They just did not fit well or look good on me.

I only ended up having to make 2 changes. I was to take in the bodice from the underarms and down a couple inches and I did a sway back adjustment, which was very easy to do since this had a waist seam. It is really nice not to have that pool of fabric at my low back. It makes the dress fit and look so much better.

As I was cutting out this pattern and basting it together I was watching Peggy Sagers 'Fit yourself by Yourself' DVD. It's a good DVD that goes over all the basic fitting alterations that you can do using a mirror. With that fresh in my mind it made my fitting adjustments go lickety split! 
Although, if I ever want to make the version with sleeves I will need to use a different armhole and sleeve because the one on this pattern simply did not work for me. I will also make the facings a little deeper next time.

I have a nice crisp white cotton that I plan on making another version of some sort of this dress. 

Now, on another note, I decided to change the Bombshell swimsuit straps. Originally they were to be tied behind the neck, I changed them to actual straps. I like this better, makes the suit feel more secure and no knot at the back of my neck to bother me. (Excuse the unclipped threads in the photo!)

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Maternity shirt take 2, success!! And a birthday gift for Dad.

Take 2 of the Ruched maternity T-shirt was a great success! The changes I made gave her the extra room that was needed under the arm, across the upper chest and the upper back. She really does need a sway back adjustment. Too much fabric pooling at the small of her back. However she was adamant about NOT having a center back seam. And it may just go away as her belly gets bigger!
Well, as long as she's happy, I'm happy!

Now that I have a good base fit I have several other ideas for using this pattern.... I also measured her for a maternity skirt. I figure she will need a few things other than stretchy pants for work. 

It's nice to be able to sew for her:)

I also finished a birthday gift for my dad. I'm not 100% sure if he is going to like it. I got mixed reviews when I polled the family about it!!! Everyone liked it, it is a toiletry bag,  but there wsa the thought that the embroidery design may be too girly. He'll have to let me know! I'm sure if he does not like it then mom will. 

The outer fabric is a cream color pleather and the lining is a quilting cotton from my stash. The embroidery design is Gentlemans Grooming Tools from Urban Threads. 

Next up on the work table is a sundress for our upcoming trip!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Bombshell Bathing Suit # 2

This week I sewed up another bombshell bathing suit from Closet Case Files. This time I did view A, the first one I made was view B.

I really like this pattern! I think it looks quite nice on me and I don't think I look great in bathing suits! 

This time I added bra cups and a line of elastic beneath the cups on the lining to act as a sort of boob shelf. I do think next time I make this pattern I will lengthen the body of the suit by 3/4 of an inch. 

Both of the views tie behind the neck. I do think that I may sew the straps to the upper back instead of tying them. I notice that if I'm in June suit all day the knot at the back of the neck can be bothersome. What can I say.... I'm delicate! I have it all pinned and ready I think I want to just baste the straps first and make sure that that I really do like it that way. The straps are plenty long to be able to do this.

The only complelty dumb-ass move that I made with this was to sew/serge the front and back pieces together with the wrong side of the fabric facing out on the front!! Duh!! Luckily enough the sheen of the fabric is just ever so slightly different and with all the ruching you would never even know!

 I took a bunch of pics with the self timer on the camera to make sure that nothing was popping out! 

This was the first time I have ever used bra cups in anything. Always fun to try something new. I don't have very big boobs so I used ones that give you a little extra but are very lightweight and made for swimsuits. I thought they were a bit expensive, almost 15$. But, I used a 50% of coupon at JoAnns so it made the cost a little better. They do fill out the suit and make it look better than no help at all!

Here is a photo of the suit I made last summer. Lovely!

We leave for vacation a week from today!! I can't wait :) I have a sundress that I am in mid-construction  right now and I am contemplating another bathing suit! A 2 piece this time and no NOT a bikini!

Happy Sewing,

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Lace tank from Sewing Workshops Ann's Cardigan and Tank.

More resort wear for me! Getting ready for our upcoming trip to Costa Rica. Nothing beats wearing something new and nice that I have made.

I had this stretch purple lace and underlying stretch neutral knit both in my stash. I believe I bought them sometime last year to play with the lace trend but just got to it now!

This pattern, Ann's Cardigan and tank from the Sewing Workshop has been marinating in my pattern stash for a while. I had originally pulled it for the cardigan and as I was planning on a couple of wardrobe updates for my up coming trip the tank portion drew my eye.

Sine I ended up doing a double layer of fabric the lace and the neutral knit I had to play around a bit with construction details. I really wanted the neck and armholes to have a nice clean finished look. The pattern calls for the option of leaving these unfinished... I think at the neck and armholes this would have drive me crazy!!! I think I'm pushing it for leaving the hem unfinished....

I serged the 2 layers together with right side of the lace (shiny metallic side) against the wrong side of the under knit at the armholes and the neckline. Next I flipped the lace to the right side leaving the armholes and neckline with a nice clean finish. I then just proceeded with serging the shoulder seams and side seams as instructed. If I had been really picky... Meaning if I had thought of it ahead of time... I would have finished the shoulder seams by hand. This would have made the garment reversible. Not to worried about this cause I don't think I'd ever want to wear it reversed.

After figuring the construction this was an easy project to do and will be a nice addition to my vacation wardrobe!

On the work table... Another bombshell bathing suit,this time in a solid blue. 

I must say that with all the snow and the deep freeze I am finding it fun to work on summer clothes!

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Maternity Shirt for My Daughter

My daughter is pregnant (WOO HOO!!!!!! I'm gonna be a Grandma!!!!) I'm just a little excited :)

I promised to whip her up some maternity clothes. We picked out several Megan Nielsen maternity patterns. I picked up several different knits at Jo-Ann's this past week from the 50% off red tag sales area. Can't go wrong with a good sale! 

This pattern is Megan Nielsen Ruched Maternity T-Shirt. (  Great directions, very easy to put together, complelty done on the serger.

I sewed up this first version as a wearable muslin in a super soft rayon jersey.  She was quite happy with it, me on the other hand was not quite happy with the fit. There is too much pulling from under the arms into the outer chest and looked a little tight across the upper back. And the sleeve were 4 inches too long!! As you can see she is really just starting to show and there is plenty of room for expanding tummy.

I just finished a second version. This one I have added a little more room to the upper back and underarm. I'll see how it fits her tomorrow.

Thursday, January 2, 2014

First project of 2014! Maxi beach/bathing suit cover-up

Woo-Hoo!!! First project of the year is done. It feels nice to be on a good start:)

For 2014 I have accepted the challenge to not purchase any ready to wear clothing for the entire year! With the exception of panties, bras and socks. There is a button on the side bar of my blog, check it out.

I was going to work on a new bathing suit today, however due to all the snow I'm pretty much stuck in the house for the day! And I need to pick up supplies. I'll pick another project...

More about the beach cover-up.

My husband and I are headed on holiday in a couple of weeks! I found that I needed a nicer beach cover up that I could slip on and wear to a beach restaurant and look/feel nice in. 

I used McCalls 5890 view E, a princess seamed dress that I lengthened to a maxi. 

This fabric was a REAL challenge to work with. It is a Missoni-like nylon open knit that I really had to do quite a few test sample on before I found the best seams and edge finishing. I finally ended up doing the entire project on my serger with a 4 thread overlock stitch with differential feed and with each thread in a different color. This helped to blend the seams better through the see-through knit. On the shoulders I ended up using clear elastic to stabilize the seam. But what a process! Ay my serger I had a piece of tissue paper, clear elastic and then the fabric front and back. This was the only was I could get a nice looking seam. :)

Another challenge of this fabric was how to use it, I mean really, this is a huge in your face print and color! Ideally I would have like to have matched each of those giant chevrons across the side and princess seams. However, it would have taken double the yardage to do that with a ton of waste. Plus it would have been cost prohibitive especially for a beach coverup!

the only change to the pattern was the length. I wanted a maxi!

The edge finishes also took quite a bit of testing. The pattern says to fold over and stitch. This looked quite like a nightmare! These teeny tiny nylon fibers kept getting caught on the feed dogs and it was messy. I finally ended up using a three thread narrow hem overlock stitch. It still ended up slightly wonky in some parts of the armhole but I'll take it! It looks a thousands time worse on the dress form, not very noticeable when it is on.

Happy 2014! Chicagoland is welcoming 2014 with a great big snow storm!