May 30, 2019

ESP Sheet Dress

I made another ESP dress.  It would appear that I made a bunch of the Decades of Style ESP Dresses in 2015 and then, even though I love the pattern, didn't revisit it until this past March.  Interesting.

In March, before Spring Sew Camp, I moved all of my fabric from the fabric shelves to an interior closet.  There were a few pieces of fabric that didn't make the cut to stay in the collection and they landed in a give away pile at #CarriageCornerSewCamp.

Main fabric shelves - organized by type of fabric.
As you can see, there's still room for snacks!

Overflow shelf to the top left of the fabric. This is all quilting cottons, nicer cottons for Jay's shirts and fabric bought specifically to make something for Eleanor
In the pile of fabric that I didn't really want to get rid of, but there might not be room for it, was a beautiful blue floral fitted sheet.  Yep - I've finally joined the ranks of people who've made clothes from old sheets.  And you know what?  I know why they do it.  This fabric is so soft.

finished dress just hanging out
3 of the 4 previously made ESP dresses are in heavy rotation in my current life as an innkeeper.  2 of them have the lowered neckline and 1 of them isn't even in the ESP posts I linked back to.  Also, in my post with the black gingham ESP, I share with you how to lower the square neckline going into a raglan sleeve.

Carolyn cracks me up when she takes photos.
You can see the bust is just a little bit too snug.
And - when I lowered the neckline, it also made it really wide.
Anyway - during the Spring Sew Camp after making Vogue 8962, I grabbed my sheet and got busy prepping it.  Then I put my ESP pattern on it AND without tracing the bodice, I cut, narrowing it by 1" at the waist seam.  I also cut the back on the fold because in my other ESP dresses that are too big, I NEVER use the zipper and why match a zipper over a waist seam if you are never going to use it?!

I also fully lined the bodice and used the burrito method to hem the sleeves (fully lined, remember?)  There are no photos of me making this up because I didn't think that far ahead - but someone at sew camp saw me rolling the dress to make the burrito happen.

I may have been just a bit aggressive with my alterations.  This dress is just slightly too tight. 

really too tight in the back and I need a sway back adjustment
Changes for next time:

Move the shoulder seams in just a bit - they are really wide
Add a 1/2" at the waist
Cut the back 1/4" off the fold
Add a sway back adjustment

Will there be a next time?  Yes!  I've already bought the fabric and I want to try playing with some color blocking and putting the facings on the public side.

May 26, 2019

The Last Vacation

Are y'all sick of reading about my vacations yet?  If so, then you'll be happy to hear this is the last one.  This past January, we were able to get away to Cabo for 12 days.  It was amazing!  We spent an equal amount of time relaxing by the pool as exploring.  I worked on Eleanor's Birthday Felt Food (blog post coming), JB read a book and napped in the sun. 

This was our bedroom.  Those globes on the sides of the bed would light up too.  I just loved the glow of the light behind the headboard.  A similar wooden cutout design was behind the mirrors and they lit up too!

We stayed in Los Cabos in the Baja California Sur, Mexico.  The resort was right on the beach and many days we walked miles along the shore and did the mile hike into town.

Walking on the beach. 

Making a swim suit might end up on my to make list someday, but for now I have a retro inspired 2 piece and a sweet retro one piece that I love.  They are both from Torid and there are no photos of either of them. 

We met a lovely couple on the last leg of our flight that lives in Maine now, but are originally from Pennsylvania.  We spent several nights with them.  It was fun!  We took a sunset dinner cruise one day.  Out to the see the arch and we saw dolphins, whales and a killer sunset!. 

walked into Los Cabos many, many times, and had an amazing italian dinner.  It was the perfect combination of cooking in, great meals out, wonderful conversations, great books and relaxation. 

From dinner at Valentines.  

We went there, but I wouldn't go in :\ (I wanted to be able to leave)

Can you see the heart?

Sunset at a stop during our trip to LaPaz

May 23, 2019

Bias Print Fringe

I have loved the Chalk & Notch Fringe Dress from the day it was released.  I have 2 beautiful rayons in the stash cupboard destined to be fringes.  But it took me until right before this year's vacation to actually make one up!

*Note to Self:  If you are going to take months to blog something start using your sewing journals to take notes.  Also, don't thrust your belly forward when you stand.

As you can see from the Note to Self, I'm having a hard time remembering what I did for this dress.  I used a beautiful, lightweight rayon with a bias plaid printed on it.  I bought this fabric, years ago - I would guess it was close to 19 years ago by now at a fabric store owned by Nancy Cornwell (of Polar Fleece fame) that closed in 1999.  In my mind, this fabric was always destined to be a dress.  When I decided to make fringe before vacation, I pulled this piece out.

This fringe was perfect for vacation!  The fabric was a little too thin to be worn for anything other than a swimsuit cover up.  But, it was absolutely perfect to throw over a swimsuit.  Also, when I were make it again, I'll add length - again, the length is perfect for over a swimsuit, but it's a bit short for life.

I will make this dress again.  At least twice more as I have a beautiful black and white floral from LA Finch and a beautiful red, white and blue floral that one of the NY Sewcialists picked up for me.  Both fabrics were purchased with this dress in mind.

I think it would be fun to put the facing on the right side with this pattern.  You could use the same fabric or a contrasting fabric.  The shape is so fun that it would be a wonderful way to highlight the interesting neckline.

Standing still with no wind blowing, the length is sort of okay.  But it feels really short to me and I'm just old enough to feel uncomfortable bending over in this dress.  So - at least 4" of length added for sure.  And maybe making the shirt tail hem not quite so drastic?  Thoughts on that?  See - I'm not a huge fan of high/low hems, but this shirt tail hem on a dress - I love it!  

Look Mom - it's got pockets!  And shinny silver hair :)  

This was a wonderful wearable muslin.  I serged all of the seams to finish them.  And while it wasn't tight anywhere at all, the bodice seams shredded.  Not sure if it was due to the age of the fabric or something else.  This dress didn't come home from vacation, but it was well worn during it.  

May 19, 2019

Colonial Willaimsburg

I honestly don't even know if I have any photos - but I want to talk about this just the same.  Somebody told me, I'm not old enough for Colonial Williamsburg - but you know what?  I loved it!  Loved It! 

We had some points that needed to be used, so we asked this kids if they wanted to take a quick trip to Colonial Williamsburg.  It was a really, quick trip.  We went down for 4 nights.
Eleanor and I in GiGi made sweaters
On the first day, Eleanor wanted to go the Yankee Candle.  That Yankee Candle is a super big deal and we spent several hours there wondering around, watching the train and talking with Santa.  Eleanor's favorite part was when it snowed.  Every 6 minutes there was a spot in the store where snow fell from the sky.  Pretty cool!  

The next day we headed into downtown Williamsburg.  Right into the heart of the historic district.  I loved going in and out of the houses and buildings.  Seeing how people dressed and cooked.  We watched the parade and stayed out until well past dinner time. 

I guess we were bad?

On our third day, my friend Chan drove over to Williamsburg and she walked around with us!  She made friends with Eleanor - which isn't easy to do with a shy, opinionated toddler! 

There was something about this window in the brick wall with the branch. 

We left after breakfast on our 4th day because an unexpected, early snowstorm was coming. 

Colonial Williamsburg - we'll be back! 

May 16, 2019

Border Print Pembroke

I am a pattern tester for Cashmerette.  When Jenny reached out with the Pembroke for testing - I was totally down for it!  We were due to go to Seattle for a wedding and some new tee shirt dresses were just the ticket!  I made 3 before we went on vacation!

The first one I did just like Jenny's cover dress.  I added the sash - but didn't double the fabric because I was using a fairly substantial ponte knit and I didn't want the bulk of 2 layers.  I did hem the sash for some unknown reason.

Let me also say - I'm rubbish at grading between sizes for my hips.  It's like I have absolutely no idea how big they are!  I know what the tape measure tells me, but even with flat pattern measuring - my garments end up too big at the hips.  Frustrating!

I will say - with each dress, it got smaller and the sway back adjustment got bigger.  I know that Cashmerette has a built in sway back adjustment, but with my very short back length (15") and my prominent behind, I need more.

The second dress was white polka dots on a black ponte background.  I used a solid white ponte for the sleeves and neckband and the polka dots for the sleeve bands.

This dress was not long for the closet.  I think I wore it twice and the ponte pilled horribly.  I couldn't stand it.  I think I have a tiny big of the polka dots left, but I'm not sure I'll use them.  

The third version, I think, fits the best!  And it's my favorite.  The hot pink border was on the fabric and I cut it to use as the neck band.  I fussy cut the sleeves so the border was at the hem.  

The fabric is an ITY from FabricMart ordered in May of 2015 - so it only took 3 years to get sewn up!  

I like this dress in an ITY knit.  I'm finally happy with the length - neither too long nor too short.  

I love the little flippy side vent.  My versions are just slightly longer in the back - although it's not noticeable in this photo.  

While I do finally like this dress, I think the tunic version is next in my to make pile.  I love Carolyn's versions of the tunic with long sleeves and a turtleneck or cowl - I am smitten with Megan's Pembroke tunic dress and really want to add several versions like that to my closet. 

Megan's Beautiful Pembroke Tunic

May 12, 2019

Last Tango in Paris

For our last day in Paris, we literally criss crossed the City.  It was cold and rainy and miserable when we were there.  We started the day with coffee and pastries - as you do when you are in Paris. 

start 'em young :D

We talked about buying the hop on bus passes and on our last day we did.  It was faster to get around on the bus than walking.  Although we did walk a lot!  We did one loop on the bus before getting off and really 'seeing' the sights.  

We have a pretty equal way to decide what gets done every day during a family vacation.  We all put out of "must see/do" and then we go from there - making sure that everyone gets to cross off at least one item on their list.  Everyone had something they wanted to do - I needed to get a Paris Starbucks mug, Jessica wanted to go to the HardRock Cafe and Krystle also needed a starbucks mug.  

We spent the early part of the day wandering around, thanks to the bus.  We went to the Eiffel Tower - but none of us wanted to climb it - I was game, but a coffee and looking at the structure was really enough for me.  

We saw Notre Dame from the bus and now after the recent news in Paris, I'm sad we didn't go in.  But 2 days isn't really enough to see all the sights of Paris.  Sadly the love locks bridge is no more - the locks were cut off because they were actually damaging the bridge.

We found the HardRock Cafe and had a late lunch there.  After finishing - Jessica was tired and she headed back solo to our hotel.  She only got lost a little bit, but she made safely back.  Even when your children are adults, you worry about them travelling alone at night - especially in a strange (to you) city.   

The rest of us, carried on in the drizzle.  See, Krystle had seen some beautiful photos of babies in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background that she wanted to recreate.  See Eleanor's first birthday was 2 days after we got back home.  The little peanut will never remember this trip.  Thanks to the Hard Rock, we now had a red balloon.  We hopped on the bus again and did another loop, listening to the narrator all the while learning. 

This super blurry photo was clearly taken in the rain and while you can't really see anyone's face other than Pat's - I really kinda like it! 

By now, we're 10 days into a family vacation with no real time away from each other - I think we were all about done.  And 15 months after the fact, my memory of the vacation is about gone too.

My take away - it was a wonderful vacation and I'd go back again.  I'd allow more time in Paris and then do some day trips around the area - explore more out of the City, but there was so much to see and do and I feel like we just barely glimpsed the tip of the ice berg.  

What's next for Sunday posts?  Well, there are a few more vacations that have been taken.  However, once those are done it'll be all sewing and knitting around here!  Where's your favorite place to vacation?  And do you prefer hot sunny weather for vacation or are you okay with a cold drizzle?  Do you like to relax on the beach or by a pool or are you okay with go - go - go all the time?  Looking forward to hearing from you!

May 9, 2019

Bring on the Sirens

Did you see part 1 of the Siren Sundress post?  Where I worked and worked on fitting the bodice?  Well that's because we were taking a cruise that year and I needed a new dress for the fancy dinner nights. 

I bought a beautiful silver metallic linen from Stone Mountain & Daughter to make the dress.  The fabric washed up beautifully and sewed like a dream, but it's a bit itchy to wear - I think it's the metallic thread running through the fabric. 

While I like this dress and it's still in my closet and I've even worn it since to other fancy events, I will say it's not my favorite and I don't think it's the most flattering thing I own.  There.  I think the problem is while the fit on the bust is good, it's really hard to tie the neck straps and have everything lay nicely.  Also - the center front seam creates an unattractive bulge in the front of the skirt.  That can be eliminated - but what to do about tying the darn thing? 

So, all in all, I think I'm done with this pattern. I can't remember if I cut the pattern or not - but if not, anyone interested in having the pattern?  Just comment with a way for me to reach you and I'll mail it to you. 

May 5, 2019


We spent our last Saturday of vacation at the Louvre.  After really having a leisurely morning in our condo and a very French breakfast of fruit and pastries we headed out.  It took us a minute to figure out which train tickets we needed to purchase and thankfully a very nice local helped us out!

The girls bought crepes from a street vendor outside the Louvre and they were amazing!  Making crepes that taste like that is totally on my list! 
First - let me say I was in awe of the structure.  The details and the history of the building.  Most of the photos I took were of fireplaces, stairwells, the fine trim.  I wanted to see more of the actual building - I'm that person the one who says Yea, the art is okay, but show me the fireplace. 

That deer?  Carved into a ceiling.  It's about 12" square - can you even imagine?  It's so detailed, realistic and delicate all at the same time. 

More plaster work around a fireplace.  It was just incredible.  The texture and dimension that is in plaster work. 

Just an interesting grouping of photos! 

Proof that the entire family was on this vacation.  From the left:  JB wearing one of his bowling shirts, Pat, Krystle wearing Eleanor and Jessica - I was taking the photo :) 

We barely got through one wing of the museum and literally raced to see the Mona Lisa before closing. 

Jay and I at the Mona Lisa.  I'm wearing a blue ponte Ottobre Dress #4 from May 2013.  As I tend to do whenever we go on vacation, I was busy sewing up into the wee hours of the morning every night for the week before we left.  Jay got a shirt, Krystle got a birthday outfit, Eleanor got a birthday wardrobe and I got 3 new dresses!  2 Ottobre #4s and a swing dress.  (they are the catch up blogging queue.)

My favorite quote from vacation was this.  We had all gone to see the Mona Lisa.  Pat stood there for a minute and then walked over to Krystle and said, "I don't get it."  to which Krystle replied:  "Then you need to go look at her again!"  

One more day of Paris left.  A day in which we cover the entire city!  

May 2, 2019

A Family of Flannel Pants

For more years than I know, I have made flannel pants for the entire family for Christmas.  I tried looking back in my blog too show long I've been doing this - and it didn't help.  Most likely, since the girls were born. 

Some years I've done matching for the girls with contrast cuffs, and some years I've just bought fabric that spoke about the recipient to me.  And then there was the year that everyone got flannel boxers because I made cotton PJ pants because we went to Florida for Christmas that year (2015).  For the last several years, I've just been buying flannel in a print that has something special the recipient loves - like penguins for Jessica and sunflowers for Krystle.

The Christmas before Eleanor was born (Christmas 2016), I used scraps from everyone's flannel pants and made sleep sacks. 

For Christmas 2017, I everyone got flannel pants AND I made Eleanor 2 tunics from the left-overs from Gramps & Daddy's pants and pretty little jumpers from the leftovers from Mommy, Aunt Jessica & GiGi's pants.  But - that's not what this post is about.  This post is about Christmas 2018.  Just like in years past, when JoAnn's has their big flannel sale - that's when I buy it.  I pay right around $2 a yard for the flannel and try my best to find something that everyone will love.  Last year I found Sunflowers, footballs, elephants, penguins, video games and coffee.  And then Krystle mentioned that she really wanted matching pants for her little family this year and that she would just buy matching PJs if I'd already bought flannel. 

Well - I couldn't let that happen - could I?  So, another trip to JoAnn's was in order - but trying to find a bolt of flannel with 7 - 8 yards on it was so much harder than I thought it would be.  I took JB with me he found fabric for another bowling shirt.

In the week before Christmas, after making Jessica and her boyfriend flannel boxers, I made Kyrstle's family matching flannel pants for Christmas and Krystle bought everyone matching white tees for their family photos.

I wonder how long they'll be matching?  Also - the previously purchased flannel?  It got made up too and gifted in early 2019.  I mean, Eleanor was going to outgrow her PJs if I didn't make them up soon!

These were fun to make - I'm looking forward to many more years of #flannelpantsfactory

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