Thursday, July 31, 2014

Vogue 1395

I am often drawn to Rebecca Taylor's designs when new Vogue patterns are released. I couldn't wait to get my hands on this one, especially after several versions and reviews of it started popping up! My friend Jenn picked it up for me during a sale and in the same box she sent that, she sent this awesome polka-dot rayon she'd texted me about when she was at JoAnn's once. I asked for three yards and knew it would be perfect for this dress!

 Lots of reviewers had some issues with this pattern. Most said the armholes were low and almost everyone said the narrow hems on the ties were impossible. I didn't have a problem with the narrow hems, as Vogue's method is the one I almost always use anyway, especially on curves, so I've had lots of practice with the method. As for the fit, when I tried this on, I thought it was a wadder. The shoulders slid way backward, my bra showed through the arm holes and when I shifted it all forward to where it was supposed to be, the ties no longer covered the elastic waistline! Oh and the sleeves stuck straight out because they are bound, not just hemmed. But I tried it on again the next day and ended up just taking extra chunks out of the shoulders/sleeves (big chunks, I pinched over an inch out of each one.) This fixed all the problems completely. I think it'll be a new favorite for sure.
 The construction is different, but I do think the instructions were written with beginners in mind, although I still think beginners would need help on some of the techniques. Some things you just don't understand 'til you've done them. Just follow directions and you'll be fine!

So while this dress might be a new fave, I'm struggling with what to do with my old faves!! Some of the handmade dresses in my closet are ready to be phased out, but boy, is it hard to get rid of handmade things!!! Some of them I'll try to refashion or at least use the fabric for smaller items, if not clothing. My style has evolved quite a bit this year and some of those dresses aren't really the current "me". Time to let go, but it is hard to give away my hard work!

Oh, and you totally wanted to see a picture of a snail before I left you, right??
You're welcome :)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Simplicity 1887 ... Second version

Sometimes the stars aline and the idea, the fabric and the pattern for something just fall right into place without trying. This is one of those! I had pinned a couple of polka dot skirts (this one and this one) on my Pinterest Style board. Shortly after that, I stumbled on a great polka-dot cotton twill(ish) fabric at June's and right after that, I made this success of a skirt. I knew right away I'd use the same pattern for my own polka-dot skirt.

I really love this. I think it's very on trend and can be worn in many ways. I've seen similar skirts worn with button down tops, which I'm wanting to make more of anyway, after my whale shirt turned out so great. I underlined it with white cotton, which was sufficient enough for the see-through factor, although I still wear nude unmentionables with it.  (FYI, many women think white undergarments must be worn with white bottoms, but this is not the case! White can still be seen, it's nude colored undies that's the key. That was free advice, you're welcome ;)

I omitted the pleats on this version by simply folding them out of the pattern piece when I cut out my fabric. Other than that, no changes were made and I really love this pattern for all the same reasons I listed with my first version! The elastic in part of the waistband, the pockets, the casual Summer length. Love it!

I have a turquoise twill and am debating yet another skirt from this pattern. But I just made a pair of orange shorts that turned out pretty great too so I'm debating another pair of those with the turquoise. What to do, what to do?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014


Casey's on the mainland for a couple weeks, wah! He's be gone so many times in the past, but it's actually been awhile now since the last time he was out of town, so I'm out of practice. I'm still new here too, so that doesn't help. We're all fine, though, keeping busy and having good days.

Right before he left, I had him help me take my vanity apart so I could paint it! My dad bought this vanity for me at an estate sale (or something) when I was a young teenager and spent weeks hiding out in the garage in the evenings, painting it and making it nice for my birthday. It's one of my favorite things!

After so many years, several moves (still shocked the mirror is still in tact) and spending 6 months in Layla's room in Virginia, the paint was in such rough shape. Proof:
 It wasn't a matter of just cleaning it because the oil based paint just stained so badly.
 Once I got it in my head to paint it, I assumed I'd just repaint it white. But, we have white walls and probably always will, as long as we are in the military. So I thought painting it a color would really help it pop out from the wall and make a statement!
 Here's an in-progress shot:

and here it is all finished:
This last photo is very true to the actual color. I LOVE how it turned out. It may seem like an odd color choice, but it really fits in with the rest of the room (you can sorta see in the mirror) and I think it's spectacular. A huge improvement and no longer a wall flower. It certainly stands out now! I'm sure my Dad is having heart palpitations knowing I painted over his hard work. Sorry, Dad!

I kept the metal knobs because Dad actually found those in my Grandpa's treasure-filled garage after he passed away and brought them from California to Colorado just for my vanity. I love that about them.

Some of you understand, once you have the paint bug ....

I was sitting in this rocking chair across from my vanity admiring my work, thinking how much better the chair would look with a makeover. I have this fabric in my stash. But I think it would look amazing if I painted the wood black, don't you?
What do you think? I know painting and recovering these things can be a pain. I texted Casey and asked if he thought I could spray paint my rocking chair and he said, "I have no doubt you could, lol".  It feels good that he has such faith in my skillz. Hahahaha!

Monday, July 21, 2014

McCall's 6702

I bought this gorgeous print cotton lawn at June Fabrics. It's from Japan, I was told and it's just so super pretty. I had been looking for a pattern that had this half placket type thing for a few weeks and I must have overlooked this one a bazillion times because the version on the pattern envelope is just SO BAD! So bad. Luckily, I spotted a made version on a blog (I can't remember which now, I'm sorry!) and ordered the pattern when they went on sale. I loved the rounded collar detail and the awesome cut-out back.

Mine turned out pretty great!

I changed the hemline because I don't like how hems cut shorter and straight across the front tend to make me look squat, whereas shirt tail hems tend to elongate. Everything else is right out of the envelope, although I should have done a swayback adjustment, as you can see below. I almost always do and I don't know why I forgot on this one! 
Just proof that the envelope version is really bad:

In other news, we made a desert in a pan today at school time. We went outside with our pan and cacti to dig in the dirt and all the little neighborhood girls wanted to help. It was so fun. We made some little clay snakes to put in there once they dry and we can paint them. But, anyway, check out this cactus flower!! It's SO cool, I just can't get over it. It has a donut center and zebra striped petals! It bloomed the day we brought it home. What a creative God we serve!

Friday, July 18, 2014

McCall's 6928

I got a yellow striped knit at my June Fabrics last weekend. I took the girls with me because they were just dying to see it and after they'd each chosen an Aloha fabric for a doll dress (in the first 3 minutes) they were ready to go. I took my sweet time, but it was not the same as shopping alone, so I only came home with one fabric and some lining.

I had ordered McCall's 6928, thinking I'd make the bow version, but view B caught my eye for this striped fabric, so I gave it a try.
I like the slight hi-lo hem and the pocket. I think the fit could use some work on my next version. Maybe take it in a little so it doesn't look quite so boxy and possibly lower the neckline. And I'll add length too, at least in the front. But this is still wearable and I like it.
 It's really comfortable, though and I think I like it. Casey said it looks like a cabana tent (I think he meant that in a good way, ha!) and Natalie said it looks like a clown shirt and that I should make some polka dot bottoms to go with it for Halloween. McDonald's might have also been mentioned. Or mustard? Hmmmm.

I think I'll try this pattern again in a smaller stripe and I also think it will be great for wovens too since i'ts loose enough.

I'll leave you with this photo from my balcony last night after it rained. It's so beautiful here. I'll never get tired of these views. Hawaii's skies are just the best you'll ever see. What Oahu lacks in wide open spaces, it makes up for in glorious skies.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

how I make time for sewing

I must share my new sun visor with you! Some of you may have seen this on Instagram, but the pattern is so great that I just have to share a link to the free tutorial. I set out looking for a pattern for this because I tan super easily and I try not to tan my face at all. I wear good sunscreen on my face, but it still tans and I was getting raccoon eyes from my sunglasses and my skin just wasn't looking pretty. I wanted a visor, not a hat because I wanted to be able to wear my hair up and hats always fit awkwardly with buns or ponytails.

It didn't take much searching to find this free tutorial. It's great because it's wide brimmed and covers the ears too!
Here's how mine turned out.

I can't wait to make a few more! I think I black linen one would be classy and nice. Especially once I find a fabric to try the Bombshell bathing suit pattern!

I was asked in the comments recently to possibly write a post on how I squeeze in so much time for sewing. I have thought about that questions all week!

I think there are a few things in my favor, such as being home most of the time, not having a busy schedule (I am extremely selective about extracurriculars for the kids and commitments for myself because I do not thrive on being overly busy), as well as being a pretty fast sewer. I've been afraid before that if I post too many sewn things, people will think I just ignore my kids and sew all day. Ha! That's obviously not the case. I think there are a few deeper reasons that I get a lot of sewing in too. My kids self-entertain really well. I think this is true of many homeschoolers, just because of our lifestyle. We do school in the morning hours, run an errand maybe, and then afternoons are free time. I exercise in the afternoons, get some sewing in if I want and then clean up the house and start dinner. That's our loose routine. I get more sewing time on the weekends, which again, we work hard at not booking too full to enjoy. Also, I enjoy good health and when you're not tired all the time, like many Americans these days, you have energy for things you like to do. I really think the reason people don't invest in hobbies is more that they're exhausted than that they don't have time!! So when they do have time, they can only veg out or sleep! If you feel like you never have energy for the things you want to do, I'd suggest taking a look at your health habits and make some small changes to your lifestyle. Lastly, I have a super hard time sitting around, that's just how I'm wired! Casey laughs because I can't even watch TV at night without some hand sewing or a crossword puzzle. It's a gift ... and a curse ;)

I've love to hear from some other women, working moms maybe, or people whose lives are different from mine about how you squeeze in time to sew!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Bedroom redo and window tricks

I mentioned about awhile ago that I was wanting to give our bedroom a new look. So every week with my fun money, I bought a piece to replace an old piece. First I spotted the perfect bedspread and the rest all fell together in my mind after that. It's too pricey to do it all at once, though, so I just went back with my allowance every week or two and added the next thing. I'm loving how it looks now! My tastes have definitely evolved in the last year! I guess that's the fun part about moving a lot. You get to start from scratch with your decor if you want to. White walls aren't quite the nemesis I used to think them either. It helps that white walls are in style right now, just ask Pinterest ;)

 The bedspread, curtains and pillow shams are all from Target. I love Target. I'm so glad I have one here!! It's so pretty in there. Not like that other big store-that-shall-not-be-named. I think this is the first time ever that I have bought curtains from a store and not made them. (Actually, I found some Pottery Barn curtains at a thrift store once, if that counts.) I made the Virginia pillow out of a t-shirt Casey had bought me when he was training in Virginia several years ago and the Star Wars pillow case on his side, I made. Because I made a lot of novelty pillow cases for lots of kids for Christmas last year and he was totally jealous of the Star Wars ones. So I put one in his stocking :) It doesn't *go*. But we don't care. Ha!

Our bed is on a wall with a window. But there's a door to our lanai on one side that opens in, so the bed cannot be centered right under that window. Before we got curtains, it looked bad--so off-kilter. So I bought the floor-to-ceiling curtains, knowing we could fix this. Rather than framing the window with the curtains, we framed the bed, if that makes sense. You can see below that off-centered window and then see above how the curtains hide it. The curtain on the right is mostly covering wall, while the left curtain covers more of the window. Ta-da! Tricksy.

There are a few more things I'd like to do in here. I want to get those guitar photos printed and frame them up. And I have a beautiful white vanity that is in desperate need of repainting. I'm going to be brave and paint it a color so it will stand out from the white walls. It's going to be fabulous! Maybe a paint project is in order for when Casey leaves town next week. I just need him to haul it down for me first. And then I need to drag the kids to home depot for paint. And they will whine. Blerg.

Monday, July 14, 2014

a whale of a good time! hehe

I finished my humpback whale shirt and wore it to church yesterday with the skirt I just made. I really love this fabric, but I think I love the shirt so much because I made a button down that looks professional and fits awesome. I've made a button down shirt before, but the fit of that pattern wasn't quite right for me and I don't ever wear it :-/

I know soooo many people really love the Grainline Archer pattern, but before spending the money for an indie pattern, I wanted to try some that I had in my stash already. I made a muslin of McCall's 6436 and that's the one I ended up using.

The fit could not have been more perfect and I made no alterations! It helps that this is a pattern with cup sizes, of course.
 I used a darker turquoise thread that really adds interest to the top stitching. I almost went with orange buttons, but the whales are pretty whimsical in themselves. Orange buttons might have taken it to clown level, haha!
I'm excited to make more of this pattern. Button downs are so in style right now and I think if I make a few with sleeves they'll be a great alternative for cardigans this winter in Hawaii ... in the evenings when it drops below 70 ;)