Sunday, December 4, 2011

New Sewing Space! (And an almost-finished dress)

Hi Everyone!  I took a little hiatus from sewing due to lack of motivation, but I'm back with a shiny new work table and a dress to show for it.

A few weekends ago, my husband and I were driving home from his parents' house and we hit a deer.  The car was totaled, which was a huge bummer.  It was paid off, and we had just spent a ton of money on repairs, including new brakes and tires.  It also had a full tank of gas, natch.  The insurance company decided it wasn't worth fixing, so it was time to buy a new car.  We test drove five and ended up with a Mitsubishi Outlander.  I was less than thrilled at first, but then I realized something - I can start trolling Craigslist for furniture!  Our guest bedroom is empty, so my first stop was for this antique dresser and mirror.  I replaced the knobs with glass ones and I'm waiting for some handles from eBay to arrive.  I hung up a few of my antique undergarments as decoration, too.

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Second stop was IKEA, for the Norden table. Guys, this thing is GENIUS. The table top is two huge panels that fold in, so it basically takes up no space.

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Check it out. No more laying fabric on the floor to cut it! No more hunching and backaches.

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And when I'm done, it goes in a corner and takes up zero space.

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I had to test it out, so I started this dress. There's nothing really vintage about it - it's a New Look pattern and cotton sateen fabric from Vogue. It definitely has a retro vibe, though. It's fully lined, and all I have left to do is the hem and the zipper.

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Cheers to renewed motivation and a house that's finally coming together!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The Party Dress

I've mentioned before that I don't have a lot of "going out" clothes.  Milwaukee is a pretty casual city, and I don't really hit the bars too often.  When I do, I usually just wear a casual dress and some heels and call it a night.  I came across this fabric at Bargain Center (a Lutheran thrift shop) and it's pretty much a party in fabric form.  It's real silk, and I got about 3 yards of it for $8.

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I've been wanting to remake Butterick B5209 for a while now, but it uses quite a bit of fabric because it is self-lined and has a full skirt.  I had plenty, and I like the juxtaposition of the crazy 80's fabric with the 40's dress.  I put it together much easier than last time, but not completely error-free.  The fabric doesn't have a "wrong" side, so I sewed a sleeve on backwards.  I didn't realize it until I was sewing in the lining, but it was easy enough to rip out and fix.

And boy, did I ever party in it. 

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Half that beer ended up spilled down the front of it!

I love this dress.  It's colorful, it's comfy, it's easy to accessorize, and most of all, it just feels fun to wear.  I need more party clothes.  If I had more party clothes, I'd try to find more reasons to party!  It could be a cycle of awesomeness.

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Monday, November 14, 2011

Blogiversary giveaway winner!

Congrats to comment #7, Alana from Lazy Stitching!! 


lazystitching said...




Happy aniversary! My current favourite is a white lace tee I made a couple of weeks ago.



Send me an email to amy.b.chojnacki@gmail.com and I'll send out your patterns!  Thanks again to everyone for their lovely comments and for reading my blog.

Amy

Monday, November 7, 2011

I bet you didn't know this

But I also knit!  I learned a few years ago when my friend Ellie's aunt taught me.  We go to her house every Tuesday and have dinner and chat, and sometimes work on craft projects.  Now that it's cold, we've all been knitting again, so I started on a scarf.

I first saw the Honey Cowl on Tasia's blog and thought that it was gorgeous, and easy enough for me to do.  So far, I've only made a few hats!  I haven't tried anything more complicated than that.

It took a few tries to get started because my scarf kept getting a twist in it.  I ripped it out and started again, but I got another twist!  I had to have my friend start it for me since I had no idea what I was doing wrong.  I thought I had made sure everything was straight! 

Knitting is nice because you can do it sitting in front of the TV, on the bus, talking to a friend, etc.  It's totally portable, unlike sewing.  As much as I'd like to bring my machine to work and sew during my lunch break, I don't think that will ever happen. 

I'm not very far on my scarf yet, but here's what I have so far. 

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It seems like a lot of sewing bloggers are also getting into knitting. Have you been bitten by the knitting bug?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

One Year Blogiversary and Giveway

Wow, I can't believe I've been sewing/blogging for a year already!  It's gone by so quickly.  I definitely think blogging about my projects has made me more likely to finish, mostly because I really enjoy the feedback I get from everyone, and I get really excited to share it with everyone. 

Some things I learned about sewing:
  • Never say "I can make that for you!"  It'll end up being a chore and you'll put it off and hate it and it's not fun.
  • If you sew a sleeve on backwards, it's okay.  There's no need to have a tantrum and throw it out.  Just take it off and fix it!  I've definitely gained a lot of patience.
  • As hard as it is for me to find clothes I love, it's just as hard for me to find fabric I love.  Etsy and eBay are my saviors.
  • You CAN do that super hard Vintage Vogue, if you have the will to do it.
I thought I would do a retrospect of my sewing projects and tell you which of three categories they've fallen into: Wardrobe Staples, Middle of the Road, and Never Saw the Light of Day.

First up, the worthy Wardrobe Staples.

This is my favorite dress, and the most worn. 

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I've worn this one to death, too.

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And this one surprised me by being one of my favorites.  I almost gave up on it three times!  I'm so glad I finished it because I've worn it at least 15 times.

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These are also staples that I love and have worn over and over. I think of these as solid additions to my closet that I will wear for years to come.  Not surprisingly, they are mostly all floral sundresses.

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These, not so much. Here are some of my greatest failures. None of these have ever left the house.

I look terrible in red, this fabric is so slippery it's impossible to wear a cardigan with, the neckline is sloppy and droopy, and no shoes on the planet look good with it.

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This shiny, ill-fitting mess needs to be burned. Ugh. What was I thinking with this polyester nightmare?

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This dress caused me to rip the pattern to shreds and throw it in the garbage. It never got finished or worn. What I'm the most sad about is wasting that beautiful piece of vintage rayon. I repurposed the skirt into a bodice of a different dress, so I'll tell you about that once it's finished.

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This is the same pattern as my blue chain dress, but fit issues have caused it to be in the reject pile, instead of being a closet staple like it's well-made sister. The neckline is too low, the lining peeks out, and it didn't fit, so I added a panel next to the zipper, which just looks ridiculous. I think this one is worth tearing apart and fixing, so it's on the to-do list.

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And, our Middle of the Road entries. Some of these don't get the love they deserve, and some I am just unenthused about.

This one is well-made, took FOREVER to complete, is made of high quality fabric, and fits nicely. Unfortunately, I have only worn it once. It's wintery in print and color, but the slippery fabric and sleeves make it hard to Winterize with a cardigan. I am never really sure what to wear it with, so it sits in my closet unloved.

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I thought this would be a good work dress, but unfortunately I can't muster up the enthusiasm to put it on. Is it the drab color?

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I think this dress is really beautiful, and it fits really well, but again I am running into the Winterization issue. The fabric almost screams "Christmas" but it's a super slippery rayon that you cannot wear a cardigan with. Also, it's too low-cut for the office but not fun enough for a night out.

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I love this dress, but I wore it for NYE. I can't really think of any other place to wear it. Maybe a holiday party?

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I wore this once and felt dowdy in it, so it got pushed to the back of the closet and forgotten.

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I adore this, and I wore it once poolside on vacation, but I never got the courage to take it public. I wanted to wear it to a music fest but I put it on and felt very naked. I hate to demote it to beachwear, but that's what it might end up as.

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This top is adorable and I really wanted to wear it more, but I have this thing against wearing jeans in the summer. I will have to try it with a skirt next year.

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So now for the giveaway!  I'm so happy to have so many kind readers who are always there for me with an encouraging comment, so I'd like to share two of my vintage patterns with you.  All you have to do is leave a comment. Tell me about your favorite project you've ever made, something you'd like to make, or just say hi.  I'll announce the winner next week!

Both are size 16, B36.
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Thursday, October 27, 2011

Update to my fabric drama

I got an email from Fashionfabricsclub.com today apologizing for the short email and offering to credit my account. The fabric was navy and was posted wrong on their website.  So I have a few yards of actual black crepe on their way to me!  Yay!

The navy skirt will definitely not go to waste. I found some navy and red cherry-print rayon and I'm just going to cut a new bodice.  As for the other 3 yards, I'm not sure!  I guess I will just keep it in my stash until the need for navy arises.

So, fashionfabricsclub.com, we are good.  Your customer service does not, in fact, suck.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Hey Fashion Fabrics Club - your customer service sucks!

A few weeks ago, I ordered from fashionfabricsclub.com for the first time.  I needed some black crepe, and I don't like synthetic fabrics, and they had a 100% rayon crepe and I thought it was my lucky day!  I ordered 4 yards, thinking I could make a new orchestra dress and knock off a couple of those Miu Miu dresses.  It came, I liked how it felt, and I set it aside for later.

Two nights ago, I finally got around to using it.  The lighting in my sewing room isn't the greatest.  My husband was like "is that blue?" and I was all, no, it's black!  I cut out a pattern for a skirt and started sewing.  After a seam or two, I was like "This IS blue!"

Look, totally blue:

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Did I order the right thing? Sure did:

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I had used less than a yard for the skirt, and I still had three left.  I sent the following email to their customer service:

Hi,

RE: Order 520551

I ordered 4 yards of item #7069 black crepe suiting. I just got around to sewing with it yesterday and after I cut out my pieces and started to sew, I noticed the fabric was NAVY! Not black. I compared it to some black and navy fabric I owned and it's definitely blue. I have three yards (and a useless, half-finished dress) left and I was wondering if I'd be able to send it back in exchange for black? It is definitely not what I was expecting to receive. Thanks! Amy

I got the following lovely one line response:

We are not able to accept fabric back that has already been cut.
Uh, that's not fair!  I am not asking for anything for free, I am not asking to exchange fabric I didn't like, I just want to get what I ordered!  I think they are being completely unreasonable and there's no excuse for them not exchanging the fabric that they sent me in error.  I just want what I paid for.
So now I am stuck with 3 yards of navy crepe.  Can I dye it?  Does anyone have a dye recommendation?  I can safely say I am definitely NOT ordering from fashionfabricsclub.com ever again.  What a waste of money.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

RunUp to the Runway

Remember how I was going to turn this:

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Into this?

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To wear to a runway show my sister was walking in? Yeah, it didn't go so well. I got the skirt done and it looked great. Then I sewed on the bodice, and it was so loose and bunchy and unflattering. So then I took off the bodice, made some more adjustments, sewed it on again, and even though it technically "fits", it still looks saggy and sad.  So I abandoned it and quickly made a skirt so that I didn't have to go naked.

I think I have skirt body dismorphia, because I cannot make a skirt fit me to save my life.  This thing is tiny.  I had to wear it under my boobs to get the dang thing zipped.  But then I put on a jacket over it and you couldn't tell anyway.

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Alisa in her model hair and makeup.  The fashion show was a mix of local designers and students.

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Sparkly shoes!

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I hope Lori doesn't kill me for posting this picture, but she was in London and bought the Alexander McQueen royal wedding Pippa bridesmaid dress. She was demonstrating how Alexander's expert cut and seaming gives her an ass worthy of royalty.

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It was a good night in fashion for Milwaukee!

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