June 12, 2016

Something I've Never Done Before

 I made Cashmerette's Washington dress.  I was not originally sold on this pattern.  But then I saw the dresses that Jennifer from We Bought a Manor and I was smitten!

I picked up a bright floral stretch twill at JoAnns and then I walked around and around trying to find a knit that worked with it.  I really didn't want white, so - then what?  I went with a dark plum that was in the print.  I knew I had a textured pleather in the stash cupboard.

At the end of May I cut this dress along with several others.  And this was the first one I sewed up.  I waited about a week before wearing it - and it just didn't feel right.  Something was off.  Not sure you can tell in these photos - but the dress is just too big.  The top of the waist piece falls just a bit too low, I could pinch out 2" on each side at the hips, the curve on the waist piece was wrong.

And I'm telling you now - those issues?  They were totally my fault because I don't trust my measurements.

JB did a great job with these photos - because the dress looks good here.   But I took a selfie the day I wore this and sent it to Carolyn.  She asked some very good questions like what don't you like, what doesn't fit.  And then she said, "May I ask why you chose a dark top?"  Honestly - I got very defensive - which wasn't fair - I asked her opinion and I wasn't happy with the dress as a whole.  I love all of the individual parts, but as a whole - just wasn't in love.

So then - then I did something that I never do.  EVER.

I unpicked this dress and remade it.  What?!  Yep - you read that right - I unpicked this dress and remade it.  I told you - I love all of the individual parts.

So first - I pulled the pattern out and retraced it - 2 sizes smaller in a straight size 16.  In the original dress - I traced an 18 in the bodice, grading out to a 20 at the waist and a 22 at the bottom of the waist band.

Then I went to the fabric cupboard and found a piece of white lace that was beautiful.  It was a small piece - just a bit more than enough for the top.  So an entirely new top was cut and sewn.  I did make the sleeves a bit wider, but no other changes to the top.  

I overlapped the skirt and waist band pieces and laid them over the skirt and recut them.  

I had to redo the hem and this time I added lace to it.  Which you can't see.  Now - this cracks me up - which I first finished this dress - I put it on and went upstairs - as I do whenever I finished any dress.  JB looked at it and said I like that purple thing you have under it (the top is completely see through lace, I was wearing a camisole under it).  Then he says "You need a purple bra to wear under that!"  This from the man who thinks a dress is tooo short if my knees show!   do not understand.  

I think the second version of the dress is a bit snug.  It feels like the waistband is riding up to find room.  But it sits better at my waist now, not too low, I don't feel like I have 4" of extra room around my waist and hips and I'm still eating Whole 30 - so I'm gonna assume it will be much more comfortable soon.

So - did you figure out what it was that I never do?  I have NEVER remade a garment.  Once it's done, it's done.  If something doesn't work when I wear it - I make note (usually mental) and make changes the next time I use the pattern and the garment goes on to the goodwill box.  These pieces deserved to be remade.  I am so happy with the second finished dress!  Thanks go to Jennifer at We Bought a Manor for inspiring the original dress and to Carolyn for always being a supportive and honest friend.  And finally - to Jenny for making wonderful patterns for curvy girls!  

So do you remake something that you love that doesn't quite work right?  

May 27, 2016

Whole 30

Since last last year - I've been thinking about doing a Whole 30.  If I lost a pound or two that would be a bonus - but really I had some underlying health issues.
I have thyroid issues, I wasn't sleeping more than about 3 hours a night, I had heartburn more often than not, I woke up with a migraine level headache 14 out of 15 days and I had no energy at all.

I really, really had to work up to this.  I first mentioned it to JB in August last year.  I googled some blogs, I looked at recipes, and I watched as a few of my sewing friends on InstaGram went through their Whole 30s and posted food photos.

I bought the book in January and started reading it.  All while just thinking about it.  Finally - I picked a date to start.  Carolyn was coming to visit and there were some food events happening and I didn't want to be 'that person' - so I started my Whole 30 on Monday, February 29th.  With the exception of a few days around Day 30 - I haven't even really had a hard time.   I also haven't had heartburn or a headache since early March.  I'm sleeping 7+ hours of sleep a night and I have energy.  I've even started working out regularly.  I feel good.  Oh - and the side benefit - I've managed to drop 25#.

I've done all 5 of my reintroduction days with no real horrible results - although I did have a slight allergic reaction to sugar - which seems strange but honestly refined sugar makes the roof of my mouth itch!  Last Sunday - I had dairy, grains & sugar - thanks to a sewists brunch and quiche and a lovely cake.  I had to try both of them.  Sunday afternoon I was sewing and having issues with fitting a garment - nothing unusual - but honestly - I was livid, and so angry!  Now - a few days later - I'm wondering if it was the combo of foods that I hadn't eaten in a while.

At this point - the middle of May - 10 weeks after starting this 'experimental journey' I feel great and am mostly still eating compliant - by choice.  It's not horribly hard and honestly - I enjoy how we are eating and am surprised at how good real food tastes!

So - have you done a food experiment?  What were your results?  Did you immediately go back to your prior eating?  Did you find it hard?  Do you think my observations are weird?  Talk to me - I want to hear about it.

May 23, 2016

Upton Girl

AKA - The Bronco's Dress.

Once again I was a tester for Cashmerette.  I am currently having a love/hate relationship with pattern testing.  There are a few reasons for this.  A.   I've mentioned before that I really, really dislike putting together PDFs and no matter how careful I am in trimming my pages, I always have trouble putting them together and getting them to lay flat - BUT I realize that is on me and not the pattern.  2.  I often feel like testing feels like a job and takes the relaxing out of sewing for me.  Those issues aside - when I saw the line drawings for the Upton dress I was All In!

At that same shopping trip with Niema where I bought the Nicole Miller animal print - I also bought this Nicole Miller rayon twill.  I loved the colors.

I will be the first to admit - that this dress doesn't fit me as well as it could.  That seems to be a standard refrain for me when I'm making something new.  At a stable weight - I have no idea how big (or small) I am.  Even with my measurements - I don't always trust them.  When I make this dress again I will go down 2 (or maybe 3) sizes - I can now pinch out almost 4" at the waist.  Again - that's on me and not the pattern or instructions.  And trust me - I am still wearing this - I wore it on Saturday to an ASG event.

The Upton is a sleeveless dress, with a 4 dart bodice front, and both waist and shoulder darts in the back.  There are 2 neckline options (V or Round).  There is a waist band and the option of a deep box pleats or a gored skirt.  If you need to have sleeves it would be easy enough to add a sleeve - I'm a big fan of adding the football shaped cap sleeve to sleeveless dresses - it adds just enough that if your job dress code requires sleeves, you'd be compliant.

And - the Upton has all important pockets and is lined through the waist with a back zipper.  I would add either belt loops or thread chains to a future make because I like wearing a belt but like to keep it on the waistband.
In the view I made (V-neck, box pleats) there is no neckline gaping, no need for a swayback adjustment and it's a fun, twirly, girly dress - but subdued enough for work wear.

Due to the testing period - I finished this dress right before the Superbowl and is my habit, I wore my newly finished dress to the Superbowl party we went to.  Because my fabric is navy blue with pops of orange - JB dubbed it The Broncos Dress!  Apparently what I wear influences the outcome of the SuperBowl because the Broncos won.  There has been a request to make an Eagles dress :\

The construction of this dress was quick - even making a lining.  The pieces fit together as they should and I followed the order of construction.  The pattern as it was sent out for testing had a full lining - which I didn't include.  My fabric didn't need it and I couldn't be bothered.  The pattern has now been altered to only have a lined bodice.

If I remember correctly (I really should start drafting blog posts as I make things, rather than try to remember 5 month later!) I assembled and traced the PDF one weekend while I was prepping my fabric.  The next weekend I cut it out and sewed it up.  There is a beautifully inserted orange invisible zipper - which has never been undone because in it's too big state - the dress slips right over my head without unzipping.
My next planned version will be the same - v-neck with the box pleats.  In an embroidered cotton that I bought from Fabric Mart.  It was an end of the bolt special.  I had bought the fabric right before Carolyn's first visit to the West Coast and we saw a very similar dress to the Upton made in an almost identical fabric that year at Sew Expo.  Hopefully - I can make that dress up soon - but with a puppy joining our family next weekend and then a lovely tropical vacation right around the corner it might marinate another year.

See how good the back looks?
Parting thoughts

  • This is a great dress that is easy to wear
  • It feel feminine and flirty
  • In the scoop neck, gored skirt in wool it would be a workhorse
  • This pattern will be used make a great TNT to do 'inspiration' dresses ala Carolyn
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