Thursday, November 29, 2012

Sewaholic Patterns winner!

Sorry I didn't draw a winner on Tuesday like I promised!  I forgot that Tuesday and Wednesday are normally pretty crazy for me and I wouldn't have time.  So without further ado, the winner is:

Comment #10! (Seriously, how do you guys post the random number generator results in your blog? I cannot figure it out!)

Heather Lou says:

Wow Amy, you've made a ton of (beautiful) stuff! It's kinda crazy to do an actual tally and see where all your weekends went... As for the giveaway, I wouldn't kick the Lonsdale dress out of bed.

Aw, thanks Heather!  Send me an email at amy.b.chojnacki at gmail dot com with your address and I'll get your Lonsdale sent out to you!

Thanks everyone for your lovely comments, and I'm excited to start another year of sewing!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Thanksgiving Dress

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and spent yesterday in a turkey coma with their families.  I ate leftovers, went to the antique store to look for a bar cabinet (found one I loved but the husband couldn't commit - I hope that means Santa is bringing it for Christmas), and saw Lincoln with friends.  It was a really nice day and I was happy to avoid the mall and Christmas shopping altogether.

A few weeks ago, I saw Taylor Swift in this dress and about died.  HOW freaking cute is she?!  I want to steal everything she is wearing, including her hair and her lipstick.  I couldn't find the designer of the dress on any website.  Maybe it's vintage?  So instead, I went on a hunt for fabric.

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I found some pretty similar upholstery fabric on Etsy (Premier Prints "Amsterdam" slub, if anyone is interested) and ordered two yards. I didn't bother with a muslin because I made this pattern already last year. I completely finished it and tried it on, and it was a disaster! It was a good 4" too big in the bust. I lost a little over 10 pounds this summer (mostly due to the half-marathon training) and this dress was totally huge on me. I barely even noticed the weight loss because I wear a lot of stretchy, drapey stuff, but my chest must have totally shrunk. So, I too the zipper off and took it in a couple inches on each side.

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I figured that ought to do it. NOPE. Still huge. At this point, I was like "forget it". I was not about to do the zipper for a third time. Now the back fits nicely, but it's still huge under the arms and in the chest, which I would have to take off the zipper and detach the bodice from the skirt to fix. That's what I get for making it fully lined for warmth and a nice finish.  If I had just done the facings, I could easily fix it without all that extra work!

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It's not terrible on. It looks decent from the back.

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The front was so loose, though!

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I'm not gonna lie, I didn't wear it. I changed into a vintage dress. Once the annoyance wears off, I'll get around to fixing it.  I really do like it and want it to work!  I think I might actually make the straps a little narrower, too, and take it up a bit in the shoulders.  I think it's worth fixing, I just have to suck it up and do it.

On a brighter note, my buttons for my blue coat came!  I'll get a picture later and show you which ones I chose. 

Enjoy your weekend and happy sewing!



Friday, November 23, 2012

TWO Year Blogiversary and Giveaway!

Two whole years!  And I'm still enjoying sewing?  Wow!  The past year has been really good, sewing-wise.  I branched out from 50's style dresses and made a lot of different types of garments.  I didn't make quite as MANY as I did last year, but I feel like what I did make, I like and wear frequently.  Here's my yearlong tally:

8 Dresses
5 Blouses
3 Jackets
2 Pairs of shorts
2 Knit sweaters
1 Pair of pajamas
1 Dress refashion
1 Halloween costume
1 Coat

24 garments total!  Let's not include my disastrous Amish maternity Alma blouse or the blue and white floral skirt that ended up sized for a child, okay?

My favorite thing I made all year is definitely this Alma blouse.  It's one of my newer projects, but it has already been worn to death.  I made it to wear with jeans, but 99% of the time I end up pairing it with my favorite pink Gap capris.

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This self-drafted tank was also a summer favorite, and I'm definitely going to try to "winterize" it this year with a cardigan.  There's so many great colors in it.  I could go basic black or white, or add a little color with blue or lime green cardigan.  It's such a pretty, girly top, and I always feel cute when I wear it.

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Colette Patterns Sencha has been a staple of my sewn wardrobe since the start, and this pretty floral rayon one is no exception.  Good thing this pattern has three different necklines!  Otherwise I'd be that weirdo wearing the same shirt in different colors every day.

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2012 had something new for me, which was shorts!  I made two pairs this summer, but only one got any play.  I wore these several times, mostly with a solid tank and a cardigan.  I didn't want to get too wild on top, considering my butt is basically upholstered.

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I made a matching jacket just because I loved the fabric so much, but I promise I did not wear them together! That would just be too much. I wore the jacket this spring/summer with a tank and jeans, and I think I can probably get away with wearing this through the end of the month before I have to pack it away for winter.


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Speaking of jackets, I made two others with the same pattern, but they never got any love. My readers hated the black and pink bow-print one (as did I) and the solid black one never got finished, probably due to boredom. I like sewing fun, whimsical things! I'll stick to buying the basics in stores.

Another first for me was sewing an item for someone else!

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I love my Hunger Games Reaping dresses on the hanger, but I never took them outdoors. The neckline is too low-cut for work, and every cami combination I tried looked bad. I tried wearing the white one on a lazy summer day and felt like it was too dressy. I'll try the blue one again this fall, maybe with a navy cami? Tights and boots? I don't know. They fit too nice to abandon and I really like them on the hanger, but maybe there are just not my style. I never even took a picture of me wearing them.

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Earlier this year, I went around knocking off dresses I saw online.  It's great to be like "$198? Are you joking?  I bet I could make that for $20!" and actually do it. I wore both of these a lot this summer, not surprisingly.  I love a good summer sundress.

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The Paris dress looks cute on a hot day AND doubles as a drink holder for my sister!

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I also knitted a couple garments! I made two of this sweater, which was a free download from Ravelry. It was really easy and each took about two weeks. I'm very happy with how they turned out, and both have gotten their fair share of outings. For my next knitting project, I want to do a long-sleeved sweater or a cardigan!

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My favorite thing I made this year had to be my Halloween costume! This outfit was definitely the hardest, most complicated thing I have ever made. It turned out fantastic and really boosted my sewing confidence.

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Boosted it enough to tackle a coat! I LOVE this coat, guys. I have been wearing it a ton. It brightens up every outfit and it's just what I need on these dreary November days.

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So, that's it, guys! I didn't churn out a bazillion garments like I did last year, but I definitely made some lasting additions to my wardrobe. Now, for the good stuff. For sticking with me the last two years, I'm offering up a Sewaholic pattern of your choice. I know we all love Tasia's gorgeous patterns, so if you haven't sewn one up before, here's your chance!  Just leave me a comment with you email address and which pattern you would like!  I'll pick the winner on Tuesday.

Thanks for being such great readers for another year!  I really appreciate all the feedback and encouragement I get from my fellow sewers.  Here's to another year of sewing!

Love,
Amy

Friday, November 9, 2012

The Coat Reveal

It's done!  Here she is.

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Polka dot lining!

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Making a coat was FUN, you guys. I learned all sorts of things, like making bound buttonholes, removing ease from a sleeve, and using sew-in interfacing. I'm so glad I trusted my gut and changed the collar! It was a little scary taking off the old one, but it turned out exactly how I wanted. I still had one more scary step, though - finishing the bound buttonholes. They look a'ight. I just hope they hold up.

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And here's the coat inside out. I actually bought the lining fabric to make a blouse, but then I decided I wanted a fun lining.

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The buttons are not going to be the final buttons. I ordered some from eBay but they won't be here for a bit, so I just put some plain white ones on and I'll decide when they come. It's between these two:








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I think my next project it going to be a pretty dress to wear under the coat!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Almost there!

Wow, you guys had some really nice things to say about my attempt at bound buttonholes.  Thanks!  Your words of encouragement mean so much to me.  I worked a ton on it this weekend and I am DONE with the outer part of the coat.  It's hemmed and everything!  Also topstitched, which I realized I will have to rip out a little of to do the lining.  Whoops.

So here it is as of Saturday.  The collar is different than my beloved blue coat, which I was okay with at the time.  It looked nice on my mannequin.

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I made a mistake when sewing the collar to the interfacing. Instead of pivoting at the seam, I sewed down 5/8". I didn't realize until after I had trimmed and turned it inside right.

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You couldn't tell once the collar was folded down, at least. Then I tried it on and realized that it looked weird when the top button was undone.  And then I started to have doubts about the collar.  It looked too big, it came up too high on my neck, the lapels too wide.  So then I trimmed and re-sewed it.  And it was crooked.  So I trimmed more.  You see where this is going?  Around midnight Saturday, I took the collar off and cut a new one.  It was a little scary, but I am SO glad I did it.  Now it's just like my favorite coat!

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Slimmer sleeves!!

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I love the belt. I am still on the search for perfect buttons.

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So, next step is going to be the lining. I'll give you a little hint: POLKA DOTS.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Bound Buttonholes

Today is the day I faced the three dreaded words : "make bound buttonholes".  I couldn't even put it off until the end of the coat!  It was the second step, after sewing the coat front pieces to the side front pieces.

I've never made a bound buttonhole before, and frankly, they scare me.  That's something for advanced sewers or people with a lot of patience.  I consulted my Better Homes and Gardens Complete Guide to Sewing, and chose the "simplified patch" method.  It claimed to "ensure success" by having you cut the slit after lips were sewn in place.  OMG, did I just use "slit" and "lips" in the same sentence?  That sounds so vulgar!  Mind out of the gutter, Amy! 

It seemed really overwhelming at first with all the basting and marking, but once I got the hang of it, it was no biggie.  My first one turned out pretty but WAY too big.  It wasn't until a couple buttonholes later that I figured out what I was doing wrong.

I was sewing all the way to the ends of the lips, instead of ending at my basted markings, so I wasn't able to push the lips through the opening. This time I actually drew in pencil the length of the button, so I knew exactly where to cut. Once I was cutting the correct length, I realized I was sewing the lips too far.

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The third try was a mess. The lips are too thin, the opening too wide, and the edges look sloppy. I still feel like I'm describing something other than a buttonhole, people. What is wrong with me!

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The fourth try was lovely. It's perfect! Even my husband, who couldn't care less about buttonholes, thought it looked good.

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I was ready to do one on my coat. The first one turned out good.

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The second one is a disaster. Aaah! What do I do? The corner turned out awful. I am too much of a novice to take it out and try again. I don't really know what I'm doing, and what if the buttonhole gets all big and stretched out? I wrapped it with some thread and I'm hoping it holds up. Sad. I don't have more fabric to re-cut this piece and start over.

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Buttonholes 3 and 4 turned out fine, but neither as lovely as the good practice one. Oh well. It's my first coat and my first bound buttonholes, so I am not expecting a miracle. I'm sure this post was incredibly boring to all the wonderful skilled sewers out there, but it's new and exciting for me!

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Muslining it

Thanks for the words of encouragement on the coat, guys!  It's good to know that my fellow bloggers have also mourned the loss of a garment that met its untimely demise.  It's sad when you still love something but it's battered beyond repair.  So that made me extra-excited to start on my coat!

I've never made a coat before, and I am very picky about how my coats fit, so I made a muslin.  I prefer them to be really fitted, and I like my sleeves to be bracelet-length and very slim through the shoulders and upper arms.  Coats that are too big in the shoulders are the worst.  They make you look so much bigger than you really are.

So, the muslin.  It was pretty easy to put together.  I don't know why I thought making a coat would be really hard but it's sort of like a dress, just with more fabric.  I obviously skipped some steps, like, I was not going to make and topstitch a belt, which was step #1.  I also only did one pocket and one sleeve. 

Aside from being WAAAAAY too long, like a foot and a half too long, it fits real nice in the shoulders, back, and chest.  No complaints there!

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But, the sleeves! I could probably fit my leg in there. Some major changes are going to have to happen. The armhole is too large, so I think I am going to raise that 1". Then I'm going to make the sleeve skinnier overall. I was thinking about taking a little bit out of the sleeve cap and then an inch or so on the underarm seam? I'm not too experienced in that department but it seems like there are a lot of good tutorials online for how to remove ease from a sleeve.

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I think the sleeve changes should be easy enough and I like the way everything else fits, so I am going to proceed with the coat. Yay!