September 28, 2019

Another Day, Another Dress

Another ESP Dress That Is

I have been making the Decades of Style ESP Dress for the past 4 years.  I have 5 versions currently in my closet and one when to the goodwill.  

I have altered the pattern to have a lower neck thanks to instructions from the lovely people at Decades of Style.  Here's the instructions, if you want to do the same. 

This summer - I decided at the very last minute to play along with the Sewcialists mini challenge.  The summer challenge was to work from the colors in the Sewcialists logo based on a spin telling you which color to use.  I spun coral - but honestly, my dress has most of the logo colors in it.  I cut and sewed the dress up in about 9 hours.  

 Almost all of my recent blog pictures have been taken by Carolyn and this dress is no exception.  She decided to come to Carriage Corner for a weekend at the end of August.  We took a trip to Winterthur to see the Costuming the Crown exhibit and she photographed several finished garments for me.

One of my biggest complaints about this dress is that the neckline is just too wide.  It literally falls off my shoulders, bra straps showing, the works - but they are comfortable and I love wearing them.  Well, while Carolyn was taking photographs she pointed out that both the bodice back & front were gaping a little bit and that I should alter my pattern to take 1/4" out of the center front at the very top.  Hmmm, interesting - that would also solve my wide neckline problem because it would bring the shoulders in.  Live and learn, girls, live and learn.

My to-sew list is feeling a bit out of control, but getting added to is really soon is another ESP dress with the center fronts altered.  I'm pretty sure I'll have to add the zipper back into the pattern, but that's easy.  I also feel like the bodice {now that I've taken it in just a smidge} is a bit too long, so that's another adjustment to make.

But the back waist seems to be just fine - probably because I've perfected my sway/short back adjustments for this pattern.  

One other trick that I really like to do on dresses with pockets?  Or anything with pockets for that matter - is to stitch the pockets in place on the front of the garment.  

So - look for another ESP dress soon-ish.  Which in my current world means within the year :D

Also, can I just say that I'm so happy I finally got my hair cut from the length in these pictures and got new glasses!  

September 19, 2019

Handmade Christmas

Since moving to the East Coast and becoming grandparents - our holidays celebrations have enlarged.  And I don't just mean by 1 baby!  See, our son in laws parents live close and everyone is wonderful and amazing and we do Christmas as a large group.

For years now, I have made both girls and our SIL flannel pants for Christmas.  This year, a boyfriend was added to the flannel pants list.  I also make the 3 of them a pair of hand knit socks.  But what in the world do I make for our SIL's parents?!

This year when I stumbled upon this photo from Emily Hallman on instagram - I knew what I needed to make for SIL's Mother!  Sadly, I'm pretty sure I didn't take many photos.

Then the question was what to make for SIL's Dad.  hmmm. . . .
They love to travel.  It's always so hard to find your luggage at the airport - I mean everyone has the same black or navy blue suitcase and they just get lost in the crowd - so luggage tags with the same monogram I used for the napkins I gave them last year.  Done!

You can just see the luggage tag that SIL's Mom hung from her bag for their Winter Get Away.  These tags fold in half and close with snaps.  On the inside, I used the alphabet function of my sewing machine to type their surname, address and a contact phone number.  I sandwiched the two pieces of fabric, right sides together with a length of ribbon for hanging.  Sewed, turned, topstitched and then sewed 2 snaps on each tag.  I made 6 in total.

Both of SIL's parents like to enjoy wine and they recently moved into a new house, so a set of wine themed travertine coasters was the final item included in their gift. 

I think they liked everything.  Now, what to make them next year?  hmmmmmm (currently taking suggestions).

September 12, 2019

The Simplicity Dress

I don't know if you've figured this out yet or not, but Carolyn is a style icon for me.  Especially as her style has evolved at her 'new job,' I find her style really suits me in my role as Innkeeper. 

What you probably don't know is that Carolyn and I are friends in real life.  We chat daily and often, if I'm headed to the craft store for patterns, I'll pick some up for her as well.  Consequently, we have many of the same patterns and she generally sews them up first, but I beat her to the punch with Simplicity 8551.

During the Fall 2018 Sew Camp, I actually bought fabric to make this dress.  The fabric is a lightweight quilting cotton.  Handling it at FabricMart, I thought it had a bit more drape and would become really fluid with washing - I was wrong.  But I still love this dress.

When I originally cut this dress out, I added 5" to the sleeve length.  I ended up taking that out and I wish I hadn't.  The sleeves are just a tad too short for my liking - so I always push them up.  In my way of thinking - long sleeves are kinda like long hair: if you're always going to push them up they might as well be short. 

I had plans to sew this up right away and actually got around to it in November.  I asked for color suggestions for tights to wear with this dress in the winter and bought a pair of dark mustard colored leggings which I wear with it along with my favorite brown knee high boots. 

Other than the facing, there is nothing challenging about this dress.  The facing is interfaced, I did the sew the smooth side of the interfacing to the right side of the facing along the outside edges, then turn and fuse the interfacing into place.  This creates a much nicer edge than if I'd tried to turn it under evening and then just topstitch that edge into place.  Once the interfacing is applied, construct the facing as instructed. 

All in all, I really like this dress and could see more being added to my closet.  It's easy to wear and I feel put together and like myself while I'm making breakfast.  Because it has pockets, I can keep my phone with me while I'm cleaning rooms.  Since I push the sleeves up, they aren't dragging in any food.  So, on a scale of 1 -5; this pattern is a 5.  I'd like to try the view with the grommets in the neck facing - it's a fun look.  

September 5, 2019

Put a Cherry On Top!

After the last shirt - I wanted to try another.  I have a stack of shirt patterns - so plenty of options to choose from.  This time I chose Simplicity 8090

One of the things I've been trying to do this year, is not add too much to the fabric closet.  AND when I pull a piece, use up as much of it as possible.  I had pulled a cherry print to make an apron for a guest, I used all of the red contrast that I had bought for a dress inspired by a tv show but that really don't fit my lifestyle now.  BUT because I had bought a dress length, I had enough of the cherry print to make this boxy little cropped top.  I did have to buy the accent fabric. 

I really, really need to start taking better notes - especially when I wait so long to get pictures and blog something.  My IG account says that I made this top back in February!  February folks. 

So - what changes did I make?  I'm almost positive I traced a 14 shoulders, to a 16 at the bottom of the armhole and then no other changes.  I made View B with the contrast ruffle at the top.  I did draft a collar stand from the one piece collar.  This is how the pieces were cut; Cherries: front, back, sleeve and upper collar; Contrast Gingham:  front facing, collar stand, under collar, back tab and a binding on the sleeves.
I have a big bag of vintage buttons, including several sets of Bakelite buttons. I put cheery red Bakelite buttons on this top.  

This top is easy to wear and distinctive from everything else in my closet.  I'd like to make another version, just slightly longer.  Because of that interesting french dart, I'm not sure where to add length - part of me wants to add it completely above the dart in an attempt to lower the dart.  And part of me says just slice through it and add length - what are your thoughts?

 I like the length of the back, but again, wouldn't be sad if I added length.

Isn't that little tab in the back too cute?  It's on the back of all views.  On me - it feels just slightly too high, I want it sitting at the small of my back - where you'd actually pull things together and button them up.  Easy enough to fix.

When you make a garment this distinctive, do you make multiples?  I would like to try it again and see if I can add a little length and lower that dart a bit.  We'll see what really happens - my 'to sew' list is long.
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