Friday, January 25, 2013

My trip to Cali!

I'm sorry, I've been a terrible blogger lately. I'm at least two weeks behind on posting about projects! Since my last post, I made a summery sundress, a 40's blouse, most of a 40's dress, and half a coat. The 40's dress is at a standstill until I find four more clear glass buttons, and the coat needs a lining, which is cut out and ready to sew, except that my sewing room is undergoing a demolition. Mike and I ripped out the carpet to see what was underneath (hint: nothing good) so now we just have plywood subfloors. We got some hardwood samples and are considering going that route, depending on how level our floors are and if we can borrow tools. Otherwise we might just do laminate. I am so ready to be done with carpet. The previous owners had two big white dogs, and I swear I am still finding dog hair in corners. It's just cheap and ugly and I have an orange tabby that pukes a lot. Plus, my sewing room always looks trashed due to threads and bits of fabric and paper on the floor. I'm temporarily moved into the guest bedroom, but it's hard to do anything without room for my cutting board and my iron in the other room.

Two weeks ago, Mike and I went out to Los Angeles to visit his brother Andy. He was generous enough to gift us tickets for Christmas with his frequent flier miles. We got in on a Friday around 6:00 pm and Andy picked us up from the airport. Normally I don't have any opinions on airports, but if you get a chance go to to LA, fly into Burbank instead of LAX. It was tiny, not busy, had good food, and took about 3 minutes to get through security. We went to dinner at a brew pub, and then headed to the Laurel Tavern for cocktails. I really liked that bar - it was warm, dark, stylish, and they had tons of delicious beers on tap. I got a tangerine wheat. Saturday morning we got up early and got breakfast, and then headed to the Griffith Observatory to walk around and take pictures. The Hollywood sign was pretty far away, but I got a decent picture.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Andy got a good one of me and Mike in front of it. Blue coat!! I wore it all weekend. I had three people come up to me and ask me about it and I thought that was really awesome. Getting compliments on homemade things is the BEST.

Photobucket

Hangin' out with my pal, Al.

Photobucket

Afterwards, we went to the California Science Museum to see the space shuttle Challenger, which Andy had something to do with building or working on (I think?) when he worked at Rocketdyne.

 Photobucket

The rest of the museum was free, so we wandered around. This was part of a river display. It was sparkly, so Mike and I are trying to "look sparkly".

Photobucket

This display showed you which parts of your body are hot! I thought it was kind of cool.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

From there, we headed to a bar to watch football. My Packers lost, but the bar was nice. They had 2 for 1 drinks until 7:00, so I spent most of the night double-fisting glasses of champagne. Mmm. I freaking love cheap champagne.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Here's a pretty picture from the entrance to the Science Museum.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Sunday we went on a tour of Dodgers Stadium. I wore my blue coat again (record cold temps! Boo!) and my blue and red floral 40's blouse. The tour was fine, would have been better if it was warm out!
.
Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Sunday just so happened to be the day of Gertie's sewing party!! I had the boys drop me off there and go to a bar. It was really great. I was nervous at first, but then I recognized Caroline from her awesome blue floral wiggle dress, so I went up to her and introduced myself. From there, I met Amity, who is gorgeous and the nicest ever, and Christine, who was wearing a dress I would kill for. And I met Gertie, of course! I bought her book, had a cocktail and some snacks, and got my makeup done.  I was so happy that I was in town and was able to go!

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

She was wearing the black organza dress from her book, and it was even prettier in person. All of her lovely garments were on display. I made the dress I'm wearing specifically for the party. It was a little chilly out, but I sucked it up! It's based on a sundress I saw Taylor Swift wearing. I didn't use a pattern, I just made a basic bodice with spaghetti straps and a gathered skirt. The fabric is the good part. It's a soft, thin cotton from an estate sale printed with cooking ingredients! Butter, sugar, salt, spices, etc. I'll have to take a better picture of it for you one of these days.

We had a random celebrity sighting on Sunday, but I couldn't tell who it was. Just that there were a lot of paparazzi photographing.....someone. I will have to keep my eye out for tabloid photos of someone at a farmer's market in Studio City. The Golden Globes were that night and I wanted to stalk the red carpet SO BAD but Andy would not take me there. I really need to go back to LA with ladies. I felt like I was the third wheel on a guys' trip most of the time. I just wanted to shop and eat and stalk the Golden Globes, but I got dragged to a dozen brew pubs and sciencey things. I got real tired of guy things around Sunday afternoon, and made them take me to a vintage store. It's called Wasteland. I really wanted to buy this vintage Gucci tote bag, but I restrained myself. I only bought this black sequined jacket. It reminds me of Madonna in Desperately Seeking Susan.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Another random sighting. A Delorean? Haha. I had to take a picture.

Photobucket

Then Monday we left! So I wish it had been warmer and that we could have done more shopping, but all in all it was a nice trip. Once my sewing room is in order, I'll be back with an update on the coat. I must be a sucker for punishment because it had SEVEN bound buttonholes. Six look great. One is awful. I can live with that!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Sick Saturday Sewing

Yesterday was day 4 of the flu, and I was still under orders not to leave the house.  I was bored out of my mind, tired of sleeping, tired of Netflix, and Mike was on his way up to Green Bay for the Packers game.  What to do?  How about sew two blouses!

This is my new favorite pattern:

Photobucket

The pattern envelope doesn't look like much, due to unfortunate fabric choices (flesh-colored charmeuse??), but the original pattern drawings are cute, as are the line drawings.

Photobucket

I only plan on making the blouse, but I bought the pattern on eBay for $4, so I think I am getting my money's worth. I don't care for the jacket or skirt, but maybe I will make the pants at some point.

Okay, reasons why this is my new favorite pattern:
-Takes about 3 hours start to finish
-Sleeves!
-The tucks at the waist are super flattering
-The gathering above the bust is adorable
-No zipper!
-Excuse to use a pretty vintage button
-Barely uses any fabric

I didn't bother with a muslin, and I cut a size 12.  I love this piece of fabric, but I got it on eBay for like $2 so it's really not the end of the world if I ruin it. In my delusional state, I managed to sew the yoke on backwards, which I didn't realized until after I trimmed and pressed the seam. And pulled out the gathering threads. So, I had to do all that again. Oh, and I learned two new skills with this blouse!! Bias binding, and turning a loop. Okay, why has no one ever told me how amazing bias binding is? I am never doing a facing again. It was so easy and used up like zero fabric and took waaaay less time than cutting a facing, interfacing said facing, sewing on the facing, trimming and clipping the seam, understitching, pressing, tacking down, etc. It took like 5 minutes to do the neckline. I was SO tempted just to "stitch in the ditch" but I decided not to be lazy and took the time to hand sew it. I loved the bias binding so much I did it on the sleeves too instead of hemming them. Okay, so here's blouse #1. Please ignore my fluface and yesterday's lopsided bun.

Photobucket
 
The back is pretty too! Check out the sweet button loop. I did the trick where you tie a piece of thread to one end to turn it inside out, and it worked like magic. I can't believe the thread didn't just rip out or break.

Photobucket

What's that? You want a closeup? Okay, if you insist.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

I was still bored, so I made another. This time I used some yellow stretch crepe that I bought on eBay a million years ago. I never used it because it had a funny old smell, but it seems to have aired itself out. This time, I made it a little bit longer (the blue one, like everything I own, I wish was an inch longer), and I did the darts in the sleeves. Oh yeah! There are three darts on each sleeve. I didn't do them and instead just removed the ease from the sleeve cap on the blue blouse because there was no way in hell I was doing 6 tiny darts on chiffon. Eff that. This fabric was much more sturdy, so I went for it.

I am not sure this is my best color? Whatevs. I'll just make sure to wear my hair down and a colorful necklace close to my face. The picture of me wearing it turned out blurry, so here it is on the hanger.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

It's super cute and fits nice, at least.

Photobucket

Sleeve closeup! I did bias bindings again.

Uploaded from the Photobucket iPhone App

Um, I made one more too. Shut up! You know I love to make multiples. The third one is almost done, I just need to hand sew the bias binding and hem it. This one is SLEEVELESS though so it's different, I promise.   If you have not previously considered making this pattern, I highly encourage you to. It's going to be a wardrobe staple, I'm sure of it.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

A Christmas Dress

I finished and wore this dress last weekend, but I'm finally getting around to posting about it.  I have the flu, and today is the first time I've gotten out of bed since Wednesday.  I am feeling MUCH better today and I think I am close to being done with this.  I missed several days of work, which I normally would be like "awesome, more time to sew" but that didn't happen.  It was too much work to even brush my teeth.

Anyway!  Happier things.  Last Friday, my aunt Karen had her annual Christmas party, which is a big affair with the whole family and a tasty meal and lots of cocktails. Most people dress up in something Christmassy, so I wanted to make a sparkly party frock.  I used this pattern and omitted the collar.

Photobucket

I wanted to make the fuller skirt, but I didn't have enough fabric. I am still pretty thrilled with how it turned out. The fabric is vintage brocade from the 60's, pillaged from my friend Marylee's stash.

Photobucket

Pretty good lookin' lapped zipper, hey? One side is a leeeetle higher than the other but I'm sure I can fix that with a hook if it really bothered me.  It doesn't.

Photobucket

The brocade is kind of scratchy so I wanted to do a full lining, and I didn't really have any suitable fabric, so I just used some white cotton. I wear a slip with everything anyway, so I wasn't worried about it getting bunched up on my tights. Plus, with it being a winter dress, it should be warm and cozy!

Photobucket

And here it is, all finished and gussied up for the party!

Photobucket

I love how it turned out! I felt so festive and pretty. This will definitely get worn again in the near future. Oh, and as for the blue coat I was making? I couldn't say much before because it was a Christmas gift for my Mom. After all the button hole drama, it actually turned out pretty nice! I was literally sewing on buttons until the minute we had to leave to go over to my parents' house, so I didn't get any pictures. I'll make sure to ask her to snap a few the first time she wears it.

I am under strict doctor's orders not to leave the house until Monday (okay, I am heeding her advice for the most part but I'm totally going to watch football with my also flu-stricken parents tonight. Don't judge.) I guess I'll go sew! Happy Saturday and I hope everyone out there is feeling better than I am!