Thursday, November 6, 2014

The Sentimental Brown Gingham Western Shirt

Oops. I was certain I was standing completely in the shade when I took these pictures. Oh well, this one isn't too bad. (Stop explaining and apologizing for bad photos, Lynn)

This might seem a bit strange and contradictory, given that I am highly attracted to bright colors and I often lament the fact that so many people are "afraid of color," but I actually do like brown. It might be at least partly because my mother said I look good in brown. It's not like she always dressed me in brown when I was little though. I have been picking out my own fabric since I was old enough to point. But anyway, I don't want to be always surrounded by it like in my dull brown living room but for clothes I like brown as well as all those crazy bright colors and sweet girly colors that I wear so much of the time.

I was in the little quilt shop in a nearby town and saw that they had some really nice quilting weight gingham in about a dozen or so colors, including this brown and I got an Idea! I don't usually wear anything western styled, not because I dislike it exactly, but more because I don't want to be mistaken for someone who is into the whole country and western sub-culture. Not that there's anything wrong with it; it's just not me. However, in developing one's own personal style it's useful to dip into various different cultures and styles... Oh screw it. I don't have a "personal style". I just get lots of different ideas and I make them and wear them.

To make this shirt I used the body of New Look 6078 because it fits really nicely (except for one part which I'll get to in a minute) and I like the curve of the hem - not too much, just right - and I used the sleeves, front band and collar from McCall's 4922 and I drafted the front and back yoke from scratch. (very simple, actually) I was a little worried that I would have a lot of trouble making the collar fit because it's a very different kind of collar from the one in the New Look pattern but it went together perfectly. In fact everything about it worked out beautifully. I'm really, extremely happy with the way it turned out. The only thing that is not quite perfect is that it's a wee bit snug around the hips. I could probably get an extra half inch if I picked apart the side seams and darts and re-sewed them but I'm not sure it's worth the trouble. It's not like the buttons are about to pop off or anything like that.

Here's the back view.

And a close-up of the buttons. I suppose an "authentic" western shirt would have snaps but I love these buttons and I wasn't trying to be authentic. I just now noticed, looking at the picture, that they are a little off center on the band. Dammit! I guess I should have made vertical buttonholes but horizontal ones are less likely to come unbuttoned if you accidentally make them slightly too big.

Wednesday, October 29, 2014


(I had a much more clever title for this post when I was thinking about it yesterday but I forgot what it was.)

I like plaid but I am a little bit afraid of it. I wasn't always but then I started reading sewing blogs and discovered that one is expected to match the plaid not only across the front but also the sleeves, at the side seems, and pretty much everywhere. It all seems so overwhelming now. This time I tried, I really did but I didn't account for the bust darts which make it pretty much impossible to match the sides and the sleeves. Oh well. My experience has been that nobody notices those details unless you point them out, and the sewing bloggers never read my blog anyway so why stress over it.

I have just one comfortable, casual long sleeved shirt made of lightweight cotton that is perfect for days when it's cool enough for long sleeves but still too warm for really warm clothes. I wear it a lot when the weather is like that so when Denver Fabrics had a sale on shirting I bought three pieces. This is the first one of those. I love this fabric, the colors and the texture. It has heavier threads running through it, sort of like in a "ripstop" fabric but at irregular intervals.

Just for fun I thought I would try a more animated pose than my usual and (unfortunately, perhaps) it turned out to be the best picture.

And here's a view of the back yoke.

This is another New Look 6963. My third and I still haven't used any of the sleeves that came in the pattern. (but I will) I love this pattern but there is one thing about it that I don't like: it has a back neck facing instead of a yoke lining. I made the first two with the facing but I made this one with a proper lined yoke. You can see the first one here. I haven't photographed the second one. This pattern has two different backs. The bug shirt has a pleated back. This one has darts that you can just barely see in the second photo.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

She Who Hesitates Doesn't Get the Fabric

I have been looking for some stretch denim that is actually noticeably stretchy for ages. I found some black denim and made an amazingly comfortable (if not exactly fashionable) pair of jeans but no one ever has any faded blue stretch denim. But finally I found it! [rays of heavenly light, angels singing] Girl Charlee, which very helpfully gives the percent of stretch, had two nice stretch denims: one, a "light indigo blue" and the other one "antique indigo". I really wanted the antique indigo but I waited several hours trying to decide whether I wanted to get some of the light blue also or only the antique indigo. I decided to get only the antique indigo but when I went to order it they only had one yard left! (Oh the humanity!)

Naturally, I was devastated but I ordered some of the light indigo denim. I will keep checking. Maybe someday they will get some more? I have one big complaint against Girl Charlee. They are one of those online fabric retailers that only sell in whole yard increments. I am sure that this contributed to my not getting the fabric I wanted. How many of the people who ordered the antique denim had to order more than they actually wanted? 3 yards instead of 2 1/2 yards, for example. Perhaps there would have been enough left for me if other people hadn't been forced to buy more than they needed. I have learned my lesson though. Never hesitate to buy fabric.

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Showing Off the Sewing, Worthy or Not

For a couple of weeks I was feeling uninspired and didn't know what I wanted to sew so I decided it would be a good time to sew something boring and practical: a denim skirt. I know you can't see the whole skirt - not a very good way to show it off - but in the pictures it looked a lot longer than it actually is so I cropped off the bottom of the picture. It's actually about mid-calf length. (I would rather have taken these outside because the flash does me no favors but the neighbors are putting a new roof on their house and I could just imagine them saying, "What's that crazy lady doing over there taking pictures of herself?") Anyway, here it is:

I made the blouse about three or four years ago. It's a Kwik Sew 3511. I never go tucked in because that emphasizes the granny gut. (which I've had all my life and I hate it now as much as ever but somehow it is a bit of a relief to be old enough to refer to it as a "granny gut") I really like the way the whole outfit looks.

Here's a detail pic. (The color of the denim is more accurate in the first picture.) I'm not happy with the buttons but I wanted to get it done and not go on a long frustrating search for "exactly the right buttons" so I just used a couple of leftover 5/8 inch shirt buttons I had, thinking, "I can always replace them with some nice ones later," but I probably won't bother.

And the pocket with the hidden opening. I'm always very afraid to show the insides of anything I sew. This is really a leap for me so be kind. (Yes, those are hand stitched buttonholes. Because I can. And it's fun.) (I did not make the quilt.)

And finally, a less "dressed up" look with the skirt and a top I made a couple of months ago. I didn't show off the top when I first made it because I felt like it was a FAIL. The fabric, a cotton/rayon blend knit, is sort of twisty and it made the hem uneven, but I sort of like it anyway.

I am now back in a sewing mood and want to make 10 things at once. I just finished a blouse this morning. It has long sleeves so I'm going to wait until the temperature drops a little before wearing/showing off that one. I am getting ready to start a rain poncho, which I will need soon. After that more long sleeved shirts, I think. I have some plaids that I am eager to get into.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

The Last Dress of Summer?

I took a whole bunch of photos using the timer on my camera and most of them were too close and I don't want to go back out and set up again. So, here's my close-up.

And here's the one halfway good picture that shows almost all of the dress.

This is another Simplicity 1882, my second and probably last. You can see the first one here. I wanted more skirt so I cut it a little bit wider and added pairs of pleats to both the front and back. I still didn't get the fit of the bodice quite right. Overall though, I like it.

This fabric - the abstract print and the color combination - is a little different for me. It's funny how we occasionally find ourselves attracted to something that we normally think of as "not my thing". I was originally thinking of having the trim match the lighter green but I couldn't find that exact color. I still think it might have been better with the lighter green but I'm satisfied with the way this turned out. This was one of the older pieces of fabric in my stash. There's something especially satisfying about going to the "bottom of the stash" and finally finishing something I bought a long time ago.

I have three more dress projects that I had planned to make this summer but now it's September and, as always, I'm torn between making "one more dress" (because, after all, it is still in the upper 90's and will be for at least another week or two) or moving on to the fall sewing. I know I have some fall and winter fabrics in the stash but right now I can't make my mind focus on them and think about fall sewing. Hmmmm... maybe a multi-season top...

Thursday, August 14, 2014

A Stashing Good Time

Back in April I had about a dozen projects that I had decided I absolutely positively must finish by the the end of May, or the middle of June at the latest. I had no real need to have them all done by any particular date. I just decided that I wanted to and somehow "want" turned into "have to". Well, you know how life goes. Actually, looking back through my archives I see that I got five of the things done by the middle of June and one more by the end of June. I'm going to call that "not too bad" for an overly ambitious goal.

Funny thing though, after my self-imposed deadline had passed all sense of urgency left me. I relaxed and slacked off, and sewed a few things that weren't on my original "list". Now I'm thinking about those things a little bit now but also thinking, "It's the middle of August. Does it make any sense to sew a bunch of summer dresses right now?" Well... maybe one or two.

Here are the ones that did not get done.

The brown fabric is destined to be a Vogue 8577, which I talked about a little bit here. That would be a good one to make right now. The colors are more fall than summer anyway and with a cardigan and tights I could wear it until late in the season. (I don't have a cardigan of the right color though so that would mean more shopping.)

The lovely yellow and orange floral is going to be similar to my most recent dress. The aqua polka dot is going to be a blouse. This and the piece directly below it, which is also going to be a blouse, were not really on my "must get done" list but I was thinking about them and when I was feeling very ambitious I thought maybe I would sew these too if I got all the other stuff done.

The fabric on the lower left is printed with antique sewing machine and sewing related ads. Isn't this the most awesome fabric? I think it's going to be a Vogue 8811. (also mentioned in the first linked post) This could also go into the fall. The green and orange fabric, lower middle in the picture, I have had for a number of years. Originally it was going to be a Simplicity 2957 but after using it for the batik ferns dress I have changed my mind. I like that dress okay but not well enough that I want to use the pattern again. So now I'm thinking Simplicity 1882, with a little tweaking. I'm feeling rather strongly about doing this one next simply because it's been in the stash for so long.

And here's one more:

These all go together. Or maybe not? I was planning another New Look 6209, sleeveless this time. The print would be the front panel of course, the dark fabric for the main part of the dress and the dark orange for the yoke. But then I started feeling a little chicken about it - like this is going to look all wrong. Then this morning when I got the fabric out to photograph I started thinking again, "This will work." Then, "Wait! Will it?" So indecisiveness. Big time.

But that's not all. I have recently become aware of a couple of needs (Yes, actual needs) that I do not have fabric for. I also have a $10 off coupon for eQuilter that expires at the end of the month. But, eQuilter does not have the right kind of fabric for my two needs. I do hate to let that coupon expire though...

Thursday, July 31, 2014

A New Favorite

It seems like I always start these posts apologizing for the photo. This one isn't bad but I wish it was better. The one that would have been the best was out of focus. In this one the breeze is blowing the skirt around and it's a little far away to see details but other than that I guess it's okay.

This is what they call a Frankenpattern - bodice from one pattern, skirt from another. I keep making this same basic shape of dress (which is probably why all the sewing bloggers ignore me) but these are the dresses that I wear the most so it makes sense to sew more of them instead of something fashionable that I wouldn't wear as often. Overall, I'm very happy with it. It has a side zipper and it's one of my all time worst zippers but I never re-do zippers because I figure there's a one percent chance it will be any better after the second try and a 50-50 chance it will be worse.

The buttons are from this bag o' buttons. This bag had a lot of one of a kind and two of a kind buttons and it turned out that there was only one of the buttons I originally had in mind to use and only two of my second choice. The only ones of which there were three were the ugliest ones, so I pouted for a while and thought about buying buttons but I finally decided to just use the ugly buttons. I quickly got used to them and now they don't seem so bad.

As I was starting on the buttonholes I realized that, since there's a side zipper, these buttons don't actually need to be functional but it was too late and it's okay. For some reason, I like that they're real even though they don't need to be.

The fabric is lightweight and crisp with a nice tight weave, which I find to always be the case with batik fabrics. I like batik prints but it's the fabric itself that I love and I wish I could find traditional florals and fun novelty prints printed on the same kind of fabric but that seems to be very rare.

So, bottom line, I love this dress. It couldn't be more perfect for hot summer days. If we ever get any of those again.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014


If you hang out here a lot you might have noticed that I have a bit of a thing for bugs. Oh, I have no desire to get up close and personal with them but I do find them quite fascinating. So I had to have this fabric from eQuilter. I am in dress mode this time of year but I almost immediately knew this fabric had to be a New Look 6963. (I wish I could show you what the background color really looks like. It's an amazing color that you just can't see in a photo. It's bright but not insanely bright. It's just a really interesting color.)

NL 6963 is one of my unused patterns that I wrote about earlier this year, one that I didn't think I would get around to using anytime soon. Surprise! It's my new best friend. (Well, among patterns anyway) It was fast and easy to make and it is loose fitting without looking like a sack. Well... everything loose-fitting looks somewhat like a sack on me but it's much better than my former best friend big shirt pattern. (What did I ever see in that thing?) And I love love love this shirt!

Instead of going on a long frustrating search for "the perfect buttons I picked some navy ones from my button stash. I cut some bias strips to finish the armholes and they turned out better than my usual. My only disappointment is that identical bugs ended up side by side on the front. I would prefer that they were more random.

(The pants are new also but they're kind of awful and I'm glad you can't see more of them in the photo.)

Thursday, June 5, 2014


I had envisioned this with rick rack but after much desperate searching I came to the conclusion that the exact color of rick rack that I wanted does not exist. So, feeling quite disappointed, I went ahead and finished it without embellishments. But now that I see it finished I actually sort of like it plain. In fact, I think I might love it.

I used a blouse pattern, McCall's 6076, view A, as a guide for the bodice, laying the center front line on the fold, and used a skirt and pockets from another pattern. And, as you can see, I cut an appropriate neckline. I finished the neckline and armholes with bias tape. I like that better than facings except that I can never make it lay flat and neat.

When I saw the fabric at Walmart I instantly fell in love with it. The flowers are dandelions!

It's what Walmart calls "quilting cotton" but it's actually a lighter weight than typical quilting cotton and, much as I love quilting cotton, this is a better weight for the really hot summer days. I'm going to be wearing this a lot. It could do with some accessories and I quickly tried adding a couple of items that I have on hand but when I saw the pictures I didn't like the result but I might look around and see what else I can find to go with it. Still, I like it just fine as is.

Blue Is For Girls

This is so unbearably adorable I can hardly believe I made it myself.

It's just a little big on her, which is perfect. She should be able to wear it for most of the summer. The pattern is Kwik Sew 3776.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Roses and Lace

OMG! I LOVE this dress! I love the fabric, the colors, and I love the lace.

You might recall (if there was anyone actually reading this) last week I gave you a sneak peek of what I was working on. Well here it is, completed.

I used the bodice of Vogue 8789 and the skirt and pockets from another pattern because I don't think I would be comfortable with the super-full 50's skirt. It's not perfect but the fit in the shoulders is better than my first version of this dress. When I first sewed the bodice front together the top edges of the lace came together perfectly but the bottom edges were about 3/8 of an inch off, which caused me a few moments of minor panic but all I had to do to fix it was pick apart about an inch of the center seam and about the same of the lace and just tugged on the lace a little and sewed it back together. So now it's almost perfect.

I haven't used lace very many times and this dress makes me think I should use lace and other embellishments more often. I remember my mother once criticizing someone we knew for not allowing her little girls to have ruffles on their dresses because they were "too hard to iron." What I got out of that is that pretty is worth a little extra effort. It's never been that I mind the effort either in sewing or taking care of the clothes. It's just that I always think, "I never go anywhere to wear anything fancy." But I wore this dress to Atwood's and Walmart yesterday. This is not too much for everyday. There is a lot of territory between plain and fancy. And besides... there are no rules regarding when and where we are allowed to wear lace.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Earth Day Dress and Perky Young Girls From the 60's

Here is last week's sewing project. I did not originally plan this as an Easter dress but as I was working on it I thought about wearing it on Easter but I changed my mind because the weather was a bit cool. To start with, I must say that I do like it even though I'm about to complain a lot.

The pattern is Simplicity 1882. It's one of their "Amazing Fit" patterns. The fit is not amazing. I can accept partial responsibility for that but not the entire responsibility. It has separate bodice pieces corresponding to different bra cup sizes so I used the one for my size and it was too big. I made some adjustment but size wasn't the only problem. I have seen tutorials for full bust adjustment and for small bust adjustment but I have never seen a tutorial for how to adjust princess seams for girls that live a bit farther south than the girls the pattern was designed for. (if you know what I mean) With most patterns this is not much of a problem for me but this pattern was designed for exceptionally perky young girls that live way way up north. (if you know what I mean) I had an epiphany (I like that word, "epiphany") to try it with the weird, pointy bra that I never wear because it looks too 60's. That actually did improve the fit, somewhat, and doesn't make this dress look too terribly pointy.

Another thing about this pattern... The description on the front of the envelope says, "Softly Pleated A-Line Skirt." This is beyond misleading; it's an outright fib. The skirt has no pleats. It has darts. No problem. I made an honest pattern of it and sewed the pleats I expected in place of darts.

Now for the good points. I love the pockets. The yoke and pocket is a single piece that folds. Now I know how I'm going to add pockets to the fake pocket Vogue. It was worth getting this pattern just for that. I did have to add a couple of inches of depth to these pockets because they would have been too shallow to be of much use but that was very easy to do.

The fabric is quilting cotton, which I use for dresses all the time. It worked okay but I wouldn't recommend it for this pattern because the extra thicknesses of fabric for the collar and pocket trim make the seams in these areas rather bulky. It's okay but I think most seamstresses would likely prefer a lighter fabric.

I put the zipper on the side instead of the back, which means I could have eliminated the center back seam but I didn't think of it. This is the second time I've done a side zipper and I'm totally sold on them.

Overall, I really do like this dress though I think my favorite parts are the fabric and the pockets. I don't know if I will use this pattern again or not. Aside from the fit issues I really prefer a bit fuller skirt. That of course is easy to change and perhaps I could figure out how to fix the fit but why bother? There are so many other patterns waiting for my attention.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Something Neue

I just got my first Neue Mode pattern and there are a couple of surprises. First, the envelope is huge. It doesn't fit in the little plastic drawer/bin where I keep my patterns. The other surprise is that there are no directions. That wasn't a total surprise because the order confirmation email said that I would have to download the "sewing guide" and included a link to this PDF. That's it. One page.

I'm not worried about it. I've been sewing a long time and rarely look at the directions anyway. I'm sure I can figure it out. But if you're new to sewing and are not particularly adventurous you might want to hold off a while on trying Neue Mode patterns. One thing - it doesn't say so directly but I'm getting a feeling from this "sewing guide" that this pattern is intended for knits only which is not what I had in mind for it. I really just got it for the asymmetrical yoke and had radical plans that would end up with a dress that looks almost nothing like the cover picture. Oh well. I'm still confident that I can work it out somehow.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Handmade Shoes

More than 20 years ago, probably closer to 30, (damn!) I bought a book that told in detail how to make shoes. I really wanted to give it a try but it seemed like too much messy, tedious work and, since this was before the Internet, even obtaining all the proper supplies would have been a bit of an ordeal so I never got around to it. But lately I started thinking about it again and, of course, did some googling.

Here is a serviceable pair of hiking shoes. The exciting thing about these, for me, is that you can buy Vibram soling by the sheet. I'll have to look into that.

Of course, if it can be imagined someone is already selling it on Etsy. Those are quite nice and very professional looking.

Instructions for making your own shoes. This is pretty close to what I remember from the book. For some reason the idea of making a custom last is the most off-putting part.

More shoemaking instructions. This might be the author of the book I bought years ago (I'm sure I still have it somewhere) and these are more like the kind of shoes I had in mind (the flats of course) - something cute and comfortable to wear with dresses.

And more instructions at WikiHow

Finally here are the results for "homemade shoes" on Flickr. (Quite a few of the photos that came up are NOT, in fact, homemade shoes.) There are a lot of people out there doing this. I'm not confident in my ability to end up with shoes I would actually be willing to wear out of the house but I am getting closer to making an attempt.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pattern Impulses

At the beginning of every year I see a lot of talk about "stash busting" on the sewing blogs, and I've seen some really incredible stashes out there. I'm not even in the running for the "She Who Dies With the Most Fabric" prize. But what about patterns? I haven't seen as much about this. Sewing people, do you have a stash of unused patterns?

I have a bad habit of using a few TNT (tried 'n' true) patterns over and over again and making little changes or combining parts of different patterns to make frankenpatterns, while I have unused patterns that I could not resist but haven't got around to using yet. Below are a few from my collection followed by explanations and excuses.

From the top, left to right

Simplicity 1882 - This is a very recent purchase and I have fabric for it. I just need to find some fabric for the contrasting trim. I am confident that I will get around to this one this year.

Simplicity 2957 - I've had this one several years and have had fabric for it for over a year. I also need to get some contrasting trim fabric for this one.

Vogue 8577 - I also have fabric for this one but when I started cutting out the pattern pieces I got a little discouraged with it because the pockets are not real so I need to figure out some way to add real pockets, which I know I can do but when I discovered that I just decided to put it off until "later".

Simplicity 2363 - It was love at first site. Then, sometime after I had purchased it, love turned into "What was I thinking?" But now I do have a piece of fabric for it and I'm inspired again. There will be some modifications though.

New Look 6963 - A couple of years ago I thought it was past time to get a new big shirt pattern but then I started wearing more fitted tops and I'm not so fond of big shirts anymore. I think I will use this pattern eventually. One cannot totally give up big shirts.

Vogue 8811 - I love this pattern but haven't bought any fabric for it yet. I want to make a plaid one. This week I saw some pale blue dotted Swiss at Denver Fabrics and my little girl heart started thinking fluffy thoughts but I'm trying to resist because I'm not sure I would regularly wear anything so delicate.

McCall's 6279 - I saw this on one of the sewing blogs and loved it but now I'm not sure what I want to do with it - what kind of fabric, what color, etc. It's a little short for me. I would have to lengthen it quite a bit. How would it look then? I do still like it and want to make it eventually but it probably won't happen this year.

New Look 6950 - I bought this one because of the curved pocket opening. The pants look really baggy though. Okay for lounge pants maybe. I might make the skirt someday. My daughter-in-law liked the top (A & B) so I might make one of those for her. I like it too but the neck opening looks way too wide. How are you supposed to find a bra to go with something like that? Anyway, I don't have any immediate plans for this one but it still seems like a useful pattern to have.

Simplicity 9403 - This is a very old pattern. It includes only sizes 6 and 8. I never got around to making it because I couldn't decide what colors I wanted for it. Now... well, size 8 was about 3 sizes ago and I have no idea how to upsize this pattern with those weird curvy pieces. I should just give it up but darn it I really liked it and wanted to make it and I keep thinking, "There's gotta be some way."

I'm reluctant to make any kind of pattern stash busting commitment but I'm tempted to say I will make at least three of these year. So stick around and see how I do. What about the rest of you sewing people? Anyone want to talk about pattern stashes?

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Colorful Paisley With Rick-Rack

The delightful Anne of Pretty Grievances came up with my new favorite neologism (I first saw it in the comments on a recent post. I'm not going to look it up.) - gaudiflage - bold, colorful clothes and accessories used to conceal or divert attention away from one's physical imperfections. Skeptical? Seriously, here's how it works. You dress so that instead of having people say about you, "Does she really think wearing black will make that huge butt look any smaller?" they will say, "OMG! Quick, where are my sunglasses?" (Or perhaps, "Who sent in the clown?") Well, anyway, I was using gaudiflage before it was even a word.

Here is my recently finished creation.

This is Simplicity 5346 with a little sleeve modification and lots of pink rick-rack. I am mostly pleased with the result. Comfortable and colorful. What more could one want? The sleeves aren't quite the length I was going for but they'll do.

I just happened to have the perfect button in my leftover buttons drawer. I only had the one so I'm probably going to be slightly paranoid about losing it even though I rarely lose buttons off clothes I make.

My history of making button loops is not exactly filled with honor and glory. (i.e. They usually turn out ugly and the wrong size.) So, I thought, what I really need for the loop is some small, round black elastic. Of course the local Wal-mart didn't have any but while I was looking for it I noticed a card full of colorful ponytail bands. (Yes, in sewing notions; no wonder some people get confused about where to find things) The bands gave me an idea but they were too thick so I rushed back to the hair products and found these little black ones.

And it works perfectly. I left it whole so there will be no problem with it fraying. The hidden part of it is about the same length as the half you can see. I still have 35 small black ponytail bands, which should be enough to last me a lifetime if Number Two Son doesn't find them.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Respect the Whimsy

I haven't used rick-rack much until fairly recently. Not that I disliked it or thought there was anything wrong with it. If I thought of it at all it was as a whimsical, old-fashioned trim that my mom used to sew on some of my dresses when I was little. But then I noticed a few people on the Internet hating rick-rack. I'm not talking about people simply saying they don't like it or that it's not for them. That's perfectly fine - different strokes, right? But I mean hate - people seeming to be offended that it even exists. Well, fortunately, I've seen only a few of those but such is the way my brain works, when I see someone hating something that I like my fondness for that thing shoots way up. Suddenly I go from fond memories of my mother sewing rick-rack on my clothes to actually wanting to sew it and wear it now, as an adult.

In this first picture I was about six years old, I think. I don't clearly remember the color of the dress. I think it was some kind of off-red or red-brown. I don't remember the color of the rick-rack at all. It was one of my favorites at the time though.

Here's a dress I already showed off last year. Two rows of white rick-rack around the neckline and one on each pocket. So perfectly summery.

I made this top several years ago and it was the first time I had used rick-rack in a long time - actually only the second time I had ever used it. I just had a sudden epiphany that this print needed a bit of red rick-rack.

This is a very old top. It must be at least 20 years old. This is a nifty thing to do with rick-rack - two different colors wound around each other - a bit tedious but not difficult. My mother got this idea from a tip on a package of rick-rack in the late 60's.

Finally, here is a sneak peak of my latest project, which I will be showing off soon, probably early next week.

This is almost everything I have ever put rick-rack on. The only thing not included is an aqua and pink house-coat with pink rick-rack. So you see I haven't used it a lot. I don't plan to go crazy with it but I will use it again. It's not to everyone's taste but if you haven't used it yet and would like to don't be timid. It's actually very easy to sew. It goes around curves like magic. I would recommend that you do not pin it in place. I tried that and it did not work well for me. I just take it completely off the card it comes on and hold it by hand as I sew, following a seam or a line drawn with a fabric marker, then cut off the excess when I'm done.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Hot Jungle Princess

No, not me silly! The Dress! Actually, it's probably not the best description of the dress either but I wanted to use that title. [ahem] Anyway...

Last year I had such fun following Anne's Jungle January but I never thought I would participate. But then I fell in love with these giraffes that I found at eQuilter. (Yes, it's quilting cotton. I understand that's considered controversial in some circles? Hmmmm... strange.)

After thinking about it for a little while I decided I wanted to use it for just the front panel of a shoulder seam princess cut dress so I only ordered a yard and a half of it. Then, a few weeks later I was doing my weekly browsing in the local Walmart's tiny fabric department and found New Look 6209 and instantly knew it was perfect for my giraffes.

I only needed to cut one narrow pattern piece from the giraffes so in order to maximize the amount of leftover fabric I folded it off center. I now have enough to make a summer version of this dress. Or something entirely different. (Please don't judge my decorating skills. The part of the room you can't see is even worse.)

Here is the finished dress. (I really just can't pull off the surly model pose.) I love it and I will use this pattern again. Modifications: I added long sleeves and pockets. (Why can't designers understand that pockets are not optional?) (I think my tripod wasn't exactly level. I'm sure I wasn't really leaning.)

Finally, a Jungle January post calls for a picture of a wild jungle creature. Well... she's not actually that wild but she can be surly sometimes.

*Welcome to all who come here via Jungle January. This is not a sewing blog but I do post about sewing occasionally as well as other stuff. I hope you will come back again.

UPDATE: Here it is: the latest Jungle January post