Tag Archives: sewing

No Dictionarys Were Harmed During The Making Of This Dress

13 Sep

As is the custom for me, my latest project is the result of going in to Joann’s for one thing and ending up with an entirely different thing than was originally sought. Their Simplicity patterns were a dollar, which forced me to deviate from my original plan. I ended up with the Leanne Marshall 1755 pattern and some really awesome dictionary page printed fabric, in a ridiculously soft cotton (which almost never happens for me given the quilting cottons I tend to pick). You guys, this fabric is my dream fabric, and it plays to the little would-be librarian in me.

The dress was fairly easy to put together, but even so, I ended up having several issues with it.
My first mistake was not buying enough fabric to make the long version like I had planned. I made the short version but needed to add a couple of inches of black fabric to the bottom so that my own bottom would not show every time I bent over. It worked out though, because it totally looks better this way. What I learned from this mistake: my motto, never buy more than 2 yards of fabric because I can always make 2 yards work with a little finagling, is a terrible motto to follow. Seriously, it’s time to stop being stubborn and buy the yardage the pattern tells you to buy.
My second issue: the sleeve cuffs. I had trouble trying to figure out the instructions for them. I seriously felt like it was in another language, and the pictures just make me more confused. I don’t think I have ever had this much trouble understanding pattern instructions. After two days of trying to figure it out and failing miserably, I gave up and did it my own way. I would describe it, but I cannot really remember how I did it. Yay for problem solving skills, boo for lack of writing down my method.
(I always feel so awkward when taking photos of myself.
The result: lots of funny faces for your enjoyment.)
My third/fourth issue involved the bodice. I shortened the waistline and took in the bodice. I feel like the waistline they go for in this pattern is a little too low and looks a little off, but then again, I prefer my waistlines higher. I did, however, end up with it being just a little too high since I had to make the pattern pieces fit on the very small amount of fabric I had left thanks to issue number one. For the bodice, I cut the pattern out at my normal size, but failed to heed the warning from other reviewers that the bodice is a bit baggy. I ended up having to take the darts in quite a bit, as well as the sides to get the tighter fit I wanted. If I make it again, I am going to have to cut the bodice of the pattern down a size. On a positive note, this is the first time I used the darts to make the size adjustment instead of just the side seams. Let me tell you, it made me feel like a bonafide tailor.
In other good news, I put in what is probably my best zipper yet, so yay me! In other bad news, I learned that I really stink at putting on collars and making them the same size. (I’ve tried this with other collars in the past, so it’s not really that new of a revelation.) Not only are each of the flaps a little off in size (even after several attempts at evening them up), but there is so much extra fabric bunched up on the underside that I had to sew them down to get them to lay right.
All in all, I think the dress turned out somewhat decent despite all my problems, and I think I would like to give this pattern another go (after practicing my collar making technique some more, of course). Maybe now is a good time to start making muslins, but really, who has time for that?
P.S. Lesson of the day: it is better to serge each piece separately, and then sew them together afterwards. Not having to seam rip a serged seam makes it much easier to tear apart if/when you need to fix something, and all of the seams will look pretty regardless of the method used for sewing them together. The goal for my next dress is to put this lesson to use and make the inside as pretty as the outside.

Cut, Cut, Cut You Up.

16 May

**Kudos to anyone who instantly thought of AFI upon reading my title.**


So, let me just say, I friggin’ love this fabric! Once again, I went into Joann’s with one thing in mind and have come out with something completely different. Maybe one day I will make a garment with something other than quilting fabric. I just can’t help but fall in love with all of the fun prints.

DSC_0217(No Giraffes)

Not only is this fabric amazing, but this pattern (Simplicity 1803) is pretty great too. I found it when looking for a more versatile pattern that was fun and interesting, but that was still basic enough to use as more of a sloper when needed. The pattern worked up pretty quickly and easily. I did have a little trouble with the fit in the bust being slightly too big. After doing a little research, it seems that this is a common issue. Unfortunately, I did what I do best and way over did the “fix”. In trying to take it in and fix it, I ended up taking in way too much. To fix my fix, I had to let out the darts in the back, which is quite unfortunate as it would have looked much nicer and more professional (who am I kidding; I threw professionalism out the window when I chose to use fabric covered in scissors.).

DSC_0201I made scissor earrings to match.

Other than the bust issue, this dress is great, and I absolutely love how it turned out (The inner seams are the cleanest I’ve ever achieved. Thank goodness for sergers!). I can’t wait to make another. I may even use big girl fabric. I’ve got to learn to sew with something other than basic cotton some time, right? I did learned how to use bias tape to finish the sleeve edges. I’m pretty excited about this. I’ve never seemed to be able to get the arm holes of sleeveless clothing to look nice, but I think I’ve found my go-to method. I also did my first lapped zipper. I’m still not sure how I feel about it though. It didn’t really feel any easier than the way I usually do it, and it didn’t look any better either. Maybe I just need practice.

P.S. I’m about to start working on designing a 40s style dress for a contest with Shabby Apple. I’m pretty excited about it. I’ll keep you posted. I also have a fun little side project I’ve been working on with a dear friend. More on that later, as well.

DSC_0216This is Princess. She is old, fat, and cranky, but I love her dearly.



Lovely to see you again!

8 Apr

DSC_0124Hello Again!!

Geeze-o-peeze, it’s been so long since I’ve last posted! I definitely did not make my goal of a dress a month, but I haven’t been totally out of the crafting loop. I’ve made a few dresses, a skirt or two, tried and failed at knitting, started crocheting (and am actually doing pretty well), and even landed myself a new job (not quite my dream job, but it’s closer!). Eventually, I will get all of those creations on here, but for now, here is my latest dress.


This little number was supposed to be a different fabric, but I saw this and decided I needed it. That’s how it goes with fabric sometimes; when you see it, you know. Anyways, I decided to use the Burda Style 7494 pattern. It started off quick and easy until I got to the end. I had so much trouble getting the right fit for this pattern! It took me a couple of weeks to get it right. I had to take in every seam in the bodice to get the top right, but that wasn’t the half of it. I had to add darts to keep the back by my neck from gaping. The original skirt was cut to be slimmer at the bottom, but that ended up making the top of the skirt look like a giant balloon! You guys, I looked like an apple on a stick! It was pretty awful. To fix it, I had to add a triangle shaped insert on each side and make it into a full skirt.


I also had to shorten the zipper twice (because it would stick out), and I had to replace the pleats with gathers (which I had to then detach and re-do three times to get it right). With all of these issues, I almost gave up and scrapped the whole thing. It took me a week to even look at the thing again! I didn’t let it stop me though. I stuck it out (with more than a few curse words involved in the process), and now it might be one of my best dresses yet! Though, I will probably never make this dress with the original skirt pattern again, I will be getting some more use out of the bodice pattern. It was super quick and easy to put together and when sized right, it fits very nicely.

DSC_0109Look! I even painted my nails to match!

Even with the time it took to get this thing right, I went ahead and took the extra time to make a belt to match, which is a first for me. Another first for me-I actually used interfacing, and I might actually continue to do so as it really helped stabilize the neck line and belt. I might even go as far as suggest that every lazy seamstress like myself, take the time to do it. Seriously, do it.

Anyways, there you have it. The dress that almost wasn’t. I plan to try to add more creations, more often and keep this little blog going. No promises or deadlines, just me doing my best. I think it will work out better this way. To tide you all over until the next post, here is a complimentary silly photo of the boyfriend and me. Enjoy.




The Skirt That Time Forgot

25 Jan

So, a little fact about me. I have a tendency to make things and then never wear them. I made this skirt somewhere in the vicinity of two months ago using a tutorial from Gertie’s blog for better sewing, http://www.blogforbettersewing.com/, and this is the first time I’ve worn it. I think I get postpartum depression with some of the garments I make. I will go through all of the effort to make something I think will turn out great, and what do you know, as soon as it is complete, I instantly dislike it before even taking it for a test run. It’s a good thing I get over this, even if it takes several months time; otherwise, this snazzy little skirt would never see the light of day!

P.S. If you love sewing and blogs about sewing, you should go check out Gertie’s blog. It’s fabulous!

P.P.S Eventually, I will learn to take photos during the day, when there is good lighting readily available!

Also, I vow to try my best to actually iron my clothes before posting photos of them.



Snazzy Duds

9 Jan

For my very first garment of the year, and consequently very first garment post, I wanted to go with something easy, just to get into the swing of things. I used a Simplicity pattern 2190. I chose to do view A, the dress, but used the cutout shoulders of the shirt; otherwise, it would be quite boring. And I try to look snazzy, not boring.

This pattern was super simple, in the way that only a beginner can really appreciate. I had the dress finished in a matter of a couple of hours.  I did learn how to do super simple banding, which I had yet to experience in my previous sewing escapades. I had some crazy notion that it was so difficult. After working on this project, I found my personal myth to be busted. (Sorry, I’ve been watching a large amount of Mythbusters lately.)

The only real issue I had with the pattern was that the neckband piece was too short. It looks fine, aside from having two seam lines instead of just one. Honestly, the neckband not being long enough may have been my fault anyways.

One thing you will learn about me is that I never follow all the rules of sewing. I have never made a muslin first, I have only used interfacing maybe three times in my sewing career, I do not cut out notches fifty percent of the time, and I skip steps generally whenever possible.  I know, you’re thinking, “this girl, she is such a rebel!”.

In the case of this pattern, it stated that it was specifically designed for stretch knit fabrics, and I used quilting cotton fabric. I have an attraction to quilting cotton fabric. The designs are so much more fun and interesting than apparel fabric. That’s why I chose to use it for this project. The only knits I could find were plain colors and children’s designs (Think big giant cupcakes all over. Cute, but maybe more appropriate for pjs).

And with that, the finished product.

      The wrinkles are not part of the design. They are simply a result of sitting in a movie theater for 2.5 hrs.

I am quite please with how it turned out. It has a nice Asian/Mod feel to it. I love the way the design of the fabric really works with this pattern. I was a little worried when I chose it that it would not look right.  I pretty much always wear black. I’m just not used to wearing anything with brown or white, and this fabric has both! Gasp!

Gratuitous silly face, plus you get the added pleasure of seeing some of my watercolor paintings!

P.S. I would love your feedback on any of the snazzy duds I make, so please feel free to comment. Constructive criticism is always welcome!



Did you say hello? ; No, I said ‘ello, but that’s close enough.

5 Jan


My name is Jessica, and I have a project I want to share with you.
Let’s start at the beginning, shall we. I have recently graduated with a degree in Anthropology, but jobs with this type of degree are not easy to come by, so until I find a career, I am working as a pharmacy technician. Between this job, and my ongoing career hunt, I have let my passion for sewing (and other hobbies, but mostly sewing) fall to the wayside. This is where you come in. I have decided to embark on an adventure which will require me to make at least one garment for myself each month for the entire year. I have a tendency to proclaim adventures such as this and not follow through (usually letting work or school get in the way), so I will be blogging about this sewing adventure as a way to keep me on track, and hopefully, entertain all of my lovely readers. It is my goal to not only keep on track with this adventure, but to also document any other adventures I may have this year (of which I plan to have many!).

I am super excited, and I hope you are too!


P.S. If you couldn’t tell from my title and my awesome use of proper grammar, I’m kind of a big nerd. Expect to see much more of this.