Monday, January 23, 2012

A Night at the Speakeasy

This past Friday, Mike and I went to The Hamilton for their "Night at the Speakeasy".  Basically, I wanted an excuse to have fancy cocktails and make a 20's style dress.  Look how pretty The Hamilton is:

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I Googled some pictures of 20's dresses and scoured my pattern stash for anything with a loose bodice and a tiered skirt.  I didn't have any tiered skirt action, but I figured that would be easy enough to create without a pattern.  I found two 1960's dress patterns with the type of bodice I was looking for and made a hybrid of the two.  Unfortunately there was no time to order fabric, so I had to make do with this poly chiffon from Joanne's, which I underlined in white.  I wanted it to still be sheer, but not completely see-through.

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Like a good little sewer, I made a muslin first. I used one pattern for the scoop neckline:

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And another for the perfect darts.

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Not bad! Kind of shapeless, but I figured we'd be in business once I made it in the chiffon and attached the skirt.

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Boy, was I wrong. The poly chiffon was HORRIBLE to work with and was shredding like crazy and stiff and not draping nicely. The worst part was, stains kept appearing out of nowhere.

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I used bias tape for the armholes for the first time and that turned out nicely. I used a flesh color, and you could not see it through the outside of the garment, so that is good. The real disaster was when I tried to do the skirt. The fabric was shredding like crazy and would not gather and was a bunchy, horrible disaster. I can't even bring myself to show you a photo of it.

So, I turned to Plan B: Buy something on eBay and beg the seller to overnight it to me. I found this stunner with 5 minutes left on the auction, and I scored it for a song! Even with the overnight shipping, it was well within what I was willing to pay.

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I have to admit, the whole appeal of this event was getting dressed up. I actually had more fun at the pre-party at my house. I had 5 friends over and we had appetizers and Brandy Old Fashioneds and listened to 20's records on the Victrola.

Here's a slew of photos for your viewing pleasure.

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Sunday, January 22, 2012

Sittin'. Knittin'.

Hi!  I hope you didn't all forget about me.  I've been pretty busy lately and have not had much time to sew.  I I've been knitting a lot, actually.  Sewing is still my one true love, but knitting feels like a more appropriate winter activity.  What's better than sitting on the couch with a blanket and a cat and knitting while watching some Netflix?  It feels more social too because I'm not upstairs all by myself.

I finished my sweater and wore it to work last Friday!  I am SO glad I ripped it out and started over.  I ended up having to go down two needle sizes and make the small instead of the medium. Now, it's the perfect size and there are no mistakes like there were in the first attempt.  It fits me really well and it's comfortable and the wool is super soft.
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Here's some detail shots. I ended up using a tiny circular needle and knitting the sleeve trim in the round, instead of with straight needles and having to sew up the underarm seam.

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In true Amy fashion, I already have another started in a different color.  For this one, I am using white cotton yarn that I had from an ill-advised attempt at knitting a cardigan two years ago.  I've heard people advise against knitting with cotton because it doesn't hold it's shape as well as wool, but I love cotton.  It's the fabric of our lives.  I am planning on doing the seed stitch trim in another color, but I haven't decided yet.  What do you all think?  Gray? Yellow?

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Mike and I spent the whole weekend painting our dining room and upstairs bathroom. The dining room was a terrible Army green (you can see the "before" in my sweater photo above) and the bathroom was a stereotypical "bathroom blue". Now they are both the color of my sweater! I think I am in an aqua kind of mood lately.

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Have a great Sunday and good luck with all your projects!

Sunday, January 1, 2012

It's 2012!

Happy New Year!  I hope everyone had a lovely time last night, and a merry Christmas.  I haven't been up to much sewing lately, but I thought I'd share with you my Christmas dress.  I stupidly didn't take a before picture, but let me tell you, this thing was hideous.  I loved the bright pink silk, but it was huge and frumpy.  I chopped off about two feet at the hem, two ugly ruffles around the waist, and then I used the excess fabric to make a waist tie and pockets.  I love how it turned out!  Not bad for a $2 1980's dress from Value Village.

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I've had such a busy month! Sorry for the radio silence, but I have been too busy to sew, and therefore have not had much to post about. I went to Kansas City for a weekend, I did a ton of antique shopping, and Mike and I painted the living room. Before it was a drab cornflower blue (this is not our decor, btw):

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And now it's a nice, soft cream. Our living room doesn't have a ton of natural light, so the lighter paint color makes a HUGE difference in terms of light and making the room feel larger. Also, Christmas tree!

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I've been doing a lot of knitting lately.  We've been out of town several weekends, and it's so easy to bring along and do a row here and there.  I completed an infinity scarf and gave it to my sister for Christmas.  I used a free pattern from Ravelry, and the yarn is a merino wool blend called Lamb's Pride.  I bought it mostly because I liked the name.  My cat's name is Lamb, and I like the idea of the lambs being proud of their pretty wool.

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I also started a sweater for myself, the St. James knit from Ravelry. I guess my knitting plan is "knit whatever Tasia knits". Ha. I've done two projects in a row after seeing them on her blog. My first attempt was a mess - I had the gauge wrong and it ended up WAY too big. I had SO much done, too. It was so sad to rip it out. Here's what I had before I decided to start over:

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It's looking a little crooked in that picture, so maybe it's a good thing I had to tear it out. Now I know what I'm doing and it looks so much better. I switched to a smaller needle size and I am making the small instead of the medium. Here's what I've got so far.

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It's a really quick knit. I just started it on Tuesday and I've gotten about a third of it done. I'm using the recommended yarn, which is Cascade 220. It's soft and smooth and not itchy at all.

Here's to 2012 and to a great year of sewing and knitting!

XO
Amy