Friday, October 31, 2014

Maleficent and Prince Philip: Happy Halloween Costumes!

This year my husband I had two Halloween parties to attend. One of them was at our dance studio and the other at our next door neighbor. We ended up going as Maleficent and Prince Phillip.

I decided early on that I really wanted to be Maleficent for the festivities :) normally my husband and I usually throw a big Halloween party but for some reason this year I just was not feeling all the 'work' this year. I know... A big bah humbug for Halloween!

However, I could not pass up the opportunity to whip up a couple costumes!! 

Remember those feathers I bought in San Franscio? Well, they have been put to good use!

My costume was no quick project!! However, it was fun to make and I even learned a new technique. 

I used McCall's 6818 as the base pattern for the Coat Dress. The pattern states that this is a coat and cape pattern. I made some adjustments to make the coat into a coat dress. Most of the adjust,nets were in the bodice. I raised the v neck up 2 1/2 inches so I would not have to wear a camisole under. I also lengthened the entire bodice by almost 2 inches at the front tapering to an inch at the back so that the waist seam actually sat at my waist. I also closed up the back slit by a couple of inches. The original pattern has it open in the back going almost all the way up. Since I was not exactly sure what I was going to wear as an under layer I decided to close that slit up so that it only opened to my lower thigh. This also kept the illusion of a gown better! 
I cut 2 collars and made them slightly bigger and interfaced them with some leftover stiff paper type interacting from bag making. These made them stand straight up and I was able to shape the edges with a steam iron, came out very cool! 

The last thing I did, which was a brand new technique for me, was the addition of 3" wide horsehair braid to the hem. It took a bit of extra time but Was SOOOOO worth it! It made it feel so much more like a gown without having to wear petticoats or fluff underneath. 

Fabric for this project all came from fabricmart. The black with black glitter flocked swirls was from a super sale for 1.99$ yard!!! Score! I bought 10 yards. I originally intended to also make a cape out of it but that would have just been sooooo much costume! The cape is actually all cut out and with that I used 8 of the 10 yards on this costume! 
The lining accent is a royal purple taffeta also from fabricmart. I used almost 5 yards on this project. The taffeta was perfect because it had a nice heavier weight to give this dress some heft to it.

For underneath I finally decided that I wanted to make a pair of leggings. I had McCall's 6173 leggings pattern in my stash so I decided to give it a try. I used fabric I picked up from JoAnn's a black shiny Lycra from the dance/swimwear area. These worked out great! 

Ohhhh... So shiny! Maybe I can pair them with a long fancy tunic for a New Years outfit.....

The last part of my outfit is the horns, oh those horns! I originally ordered a pair of horns from an etsy shop back in the middle of September. Hmmmm, etsy site said 30 days for delivery of horns by my estimate they should have been in my hands by the latest October 20th.... That did not happen :( such a bummer. The horns showed up after my parties. On the bright side the etsy dealer gave me a full refund and I returned the box unopened. 

Did I let this set beach deter me???? NO WAY!!! I got back my 36$ from the etsy dealer and purchased a wide headband  and a roll of aluminum foil for under 5$! Deal in my book and I think my horns came out quite well. The horns are made of aluminum foil, shaped, covered in partners tape, gorilla taped to the headband and then sprayed with black spray paint! A little help form my son in law in getting the final shape correct and magic! An awesome pair of horns that were light and stayed put with Bobbie pins all night long!
My daughter was a champ and did my makeup for me! Thank goodness for Google and makeup tutorials :) we had fun and I think this was the first time I ever wore fake eyelashes. It sure was fun!

Next up is those feathers. That feather trim from Britex worked out like a dream. It was such a nice quality! I had no problems with feathers falling out or the trim coming apart :) to attach the feathers I sewed small snaps on the trim and the matching end on the dress. The feathers are removable.

This was such a great project! And one that will be packed away carefully for future Halloweens :) 

 Now my husband went as Prince Phillip. He wore a pair of brown pants and a black button up shirt underneath.

The cape was from another McCalls pattern from my stash. It was for a long cape that I shortened and it originally had gatheres (it was from a woman's pattern) so I changed them to pleats to make a more manly look. 
The fabric for the cape was also from fabricmart. It is a soft canvas. So very soft and actually quite cuddly! I'm glad I overestimated and ordered too much. The color was described as Tomato red. It should have been described as un-ripe tomatoe red!!!! It was actually pinky looking. Fit dye to the rescue and I dyed the length needed for this project a true scarlet red! 
The tan tunic was self drafted by me :) yippee! So easy to do!!! Just one long length with a neck cut out and sewn up the side seams with holes left opened for the arms. Before I sewed up the side seams I finished the armholes and neckline and added the tone on tone embroidery. The embroidery was my husbands idea! And I'm so glad I added it because it looks great. I used embroidery designs from Anita Goodesign and Urban Threads.
Hehehe! Disregard the boobs on my dress form ;) 

The hat was the last thing on the list. As I was contemplating what to make I was searching google for ideas and I stumbled upon a great tutorial from! I ove free tutorials for these type of things!!! I didn't have to re-invent the wheel :) she even includes a free downloadable PDF pattern for her hat.  I made a few slight changes to the construction because I needed to interface this very soft canvas to make it work. The feather I picked up from a new Hobby Lobby that has just opened near us.

I hope every one has a Happy Halloween!!!

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Turtles, turtles everywhere! And lots of shells too :)

This is actually the third time I am trying to post this darn blog post! Sometimes technology and I just don't get along.... Sigh....

Anyway.... With four little girls in my life from my darling Grandaughter, Victoria, and her best friend, Sophia, to my very good friends just turned 1 year old, Kaelyn, to my cutest niece ever living in the Netherlands, Roxie, I have tons of opportunity to sew some very fun stuff! 
Victoria, Kaelyn, Sophia and Roxie (top left going clockwise) they are all so beautiful!!

When my daughter was pregnant I purchased a soft toy book, Flip Dolls & Other Toys that zip, stack,hide, grab & go by Laura Wilson. It is a great book full of soft toys that 'do' something. There are so many cute things to make!! One that really caught my eye was 'Peekaboo Turtle' "your little turtle comes out of her she'll to say hello! Make a few extra shells for your turtle -- even reptiles need options."  Now, with a description like that how could I not make a slew of these little turtles for the little ladies in my life. 

So after thinking about it a bit, I figured I would make 3 turtles and 6 shells for each little one. <<Sigh>> what was I actually thinking???? I claim temporary insanity!! 

The templates in the book are quite nice and easily laid out all with needing enlarged by 200%. The directions are written quite clearly with only one major issue that I have found.... I can't seam to find ANYWHERE in the book that states what seam allowance to use!! I just went with an assumed 1/4inch but only after wasting a lot of time looking for the information. Other than that I really like this book filled with fun little projects!

On to the turtles... This meant that I committed to making 12 turtles and 24 shells. I spent an afternoon going through my stash picking out fabrics for the wee turtles and the shells. I used all stash fabrics and batting pieces for all of them!  I then spent an ETERNITY cutting out all these wonderfully detailed turtles and marking 4 darts on each of the 48 top shell pieces. See.... Insanity started setting in after several hours....

I then spent quite a few hours over several days getting those little buggers all sewed together. Sewing with such tiny precision required lots of concentration and patience and of course a quarter inch foot! I breathed a HUGE sigh of relief after the 12 turtle emerged from under my sewing machine!! 

Until.... I realized they all needed to be clipped, trimmed, turned inside out, stuffed and slip stitched shut.... That part actually required some fortification of good scotch. 

Well, as of today, the first set of turtles (pictured here) went out the door to Kaelyn's first birthday party! The last 9 turtles are in various phases of final finishing. 

Here is the greatest part of all.... I LOVE these little turtles!!! I hope all the little ladies enjoy them as well :) see??? Aren't they the cutest little things????

October has been a nice month! My brother, Gene, and his significant other, Jackie' we're in Chicago to run the Chicago Marathon. We went and spent a beautiful afternoon with them the day before. They both ran great and Jackie qualified for Boston! Maybe we have to start planning a road trip to cheer her on at the Boston Marathon! 

The weather has been beautiful here! And, of course, my fall allergies have been in full swing. :( my siuses hate me.... 

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

September 2014 Wrap-up

This September I did not have much time in my sewing room. Work travel was very busy which also meant that my time at home was mostly spent with my family. After all, how can I resist a 3 1/2 month old princess Grandaughter :) 

I was able to complete 3 garments! 
2 were early in the month and one was at the very end.

The first 2 garments go together quite nicely, they are a self drafted knit skirt and The counterpoints Jacket.  Both are from my fall sewing plan but the fabric I used for the jacket is different than my first choice. I just did not have enough yardage for my first choice fabric so I decided to use this snake skin silver/black mini courdoroy print. It came out very nice except that it is slightly big across the back and I'm not sure that I really love the button placement.... Don't hate the button location but I don't really love it. I've worn this jacket several times already and it travels nicely and is perfect for work.

The skirt is a self drafted textured knit skirt. I made this with my version of a hi-lo hem and zig zagged in a bit of clear elastic into the front curve of the lower hem. It just draws it in a bit and makes it look very cool!

The fabric for the skirt.
This was the original fabric for this jacket. But I just did not have enough to make the layout look good with the print. 

My third September project was the simplicity 1801 Cynthia Rowley dress that I made in a knit.

October has started out with 2 fun projects! 
My husband and I are going to a Halloween dance party and the costumes will be judged! I am going as Maleficent and he is going as Prince Philip. 

This what I have done so far... Much work to be done before completion!!

Happy sewing :)

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Simplicity 1801 Cynthia Rowley dress

 This dress had been sitting in my workroom partially finished since before my trip to San Francisco early in September. I was hoping to get it done for that trip. I had wanted a work dress that would work with brown shoes and accesories. 
This photo shows the colors the best! 

When traveling for work I find that it is easiest to either go with black shoes/accesories or Brown shoes/accesories as my base for outfits. This makes for easier packing and planning of outfits! On long trips I will often take both but really felt I was lacking a dress to go with brown. So with just a couple of days to go before my trip I perused my stash and came up with this knit. The colors work perfectly with the Pantone fall colors. It has the reds, the pops of the blue and orchid and of course with it being a print it is always more forgiving at hiding body imperfections. Originally I had thought of using my TNT knit wrap dress pattern but decided I needed to break out of my box.

This Cynthia Rowley pattern was also in my stash. Perfect! That means the dress was free.... Right!?!?!?

If memory serves me correctly I picked up this mid weight ITY knit of of JoAnns super sale racks. It has a nice weight to it without being to heavy. 

This pattern does call for woven materials but I wanted it in a knit, so a knit it was made out of. I made several changes. The biggest was to the neckline. I really love a V neck but I have to muslin them because many times I have to make adjustments so that it is work appropriate and I didn't want to have to wear camisole underneath. Due to the knit I was also able to leave out the zipper. The last change was to cut it 2 inches longer than the shorter dress length. Again, I find some of the dress lengths a little to short for work wear and travel. Nothing worse than having to always be tugging at a neckline and hem or worrying about an inappropriate flash. Nope... That certainly would not do!
When gathering longer areas together I back stitch my gathering stitches at both ends and then pull the threads from the middle. This helps me keep things more evenly gathered as well as there being NO chance that I will accidentally pull one of the stitches out! This dress had LOTS of gathering. At the front and back at the shoulder yokes, at the bodice to the waist and then the skirt to the waist. 

I actually really like this dress quite a lot. However, next time I make it, regardless of knit or woven, I really need to lengthen the front bodice and go down maybe half a size in the upper chest and shoulder area. I also need to stabilize the pockets so I don't get sag. I had some stabilizer tape out on my work table but when you leave a project in works for almost 3 weeks.... Well the brain doesn't always remember what it should.
Here are some rather dull looking selfies from the hotel room! But at least you get an idea of how it looks on me :)

Speaking of that front bodice length. I have noticed a trend over the past year that I feel like in many of my makes from the Big 4 that I need to lengthen the bodice..... I do flat pattern measurements for so many other parts, one would think that I would also measure that!!! No I will! 

Overall I am happy with this make and it is a great addition to my work wardrobe. I can wear it with flats or pair it up with leggings and boots. Very versatile. 

In other sewing news I finally had to purchase a new iron. My old one decided to just quit working and water was just leaking out and even after cleaning it several times it was still gunky and spitting. After having to re-wash several lengths of fabric after trying to iron them I had had enough! I bought this very beautiful and heavy Rowenta from Bed Bath and Beyond with a 20% coupon. Ohhhhh, she is nice!

On a non- sewing front update. I had a follow-up cardiologist appointment this Monday and I have been officially released! My atrial septal aneyeurism has not magically gone away and my mitral valve has not un-prolapsed BUT all of my symptoms are well under control and other than having to lose some weight I am in excellent health! Blood Pressure, Pulse, triglycerides, cholesterol are all in the excellent ranges. All I need to do is just keep following up with my regular general physician. Happy News!!

Parting shots (not the best pics...) of Princess Victoria on her very first swing. And yes.... She is dressed as batman! Thanks to her grandpa :)