Thursday, May 31, 2012

Sew Colette - The End (for now)

This is how I feel when I think about Sew Colette being over.

Wow. I'm still in shock that we are done sewing all five patterns from the Colette Sewing Handbook. Didn't the last five months just fly by? And if you are like me then you have learned a LOT in that time frame. I learned about fabric choice (and I'm not as scared of some of them!), sewing techniques, and how to adjust the fit to make a garment custom for me. Well, I learned a lot more than that, but you don't want me to go on for hours, do you? :) The book has been an invaluable source for me, as I am sure it has been for you. Thank you SO SO SO much to Sarai for writing such an amazing book, designing adorable patterns, and for being nice enough to let us do the sew-along. Thanks to Caitlin and Kenn too because I am know they are involved in a lot of the behind the scenes work :)

The best part of the sew-along (to me) was getting to meet so many new, talented, inspiring, and motivating people. Everyone has been so nice and helpful, especially all the ladies in the Flickr group and all of the guest posters (Rochelle, Jenny, Tabatha, Oona, Meg, and Melizza)! You helped me when I needed advice, inspired me with your beautiful garments, and boosted my confidence when I was feeling low. Thank you so much!

To be honest, initially I didn't want to co-host the sew-along. I felt that I was too inexperienced and didn't think that someone who was as new to sewing as I was should be a leader. Sarah encouraged me to host with her and I am so glad I did! I realized that my lack of experience wasn't necessarily a bad thing because there are others out there in the same boat. If someone who had only sewn five patterns in her life can sew the ones in this book, then you can too! So, thank you all for your patience and kindness towards me.

While this sew-along was definitely a community effort, Sarah was definitely the ring leader! She wrote up the how-to tutorials, started the Flickr group, did all of the graphic design, and answered my endless questions. I barely knew her when this all started, but now I have made a great friend. I feel like I talk to her practically everyday on Pinterest, through e-mail, on our blogs, or on Facebook. Thank you for putting up with me, Sarah!

And if you aren't sick of me yet, then be sure to look for an announcement from Rochelle, Sarah, and I tomorrow :)

Licorice Parade!

Well, well, well. It's the last parade day for Sew Colette :( I'm sad that it's the last one (for now at least ;)), but I am excited to show off some gorgeous dresses!

Licorice/New Look Hybrid
Jirian made this dress which is part Licorice part New Look 6022. The two patterns together make for a perfect summer dress. I love the yellow belt she added, it really gives a fun pop of color, don't you think?

Colette Licorice
Another pretty, summer dress! I love how Daisy-40  omitted the sleeves and left the collar. It's also cool how she tied her belt in the front. She mentioned that she is going to post more photos of the dress and I can't wait to see them!

Licorice dress
KJL (aka Mommy in France) made a version on the Licorice dress without the collar or sleeves and it give the dress a whole new look, which I love. Next time I want to make one like hers!
Schedule for sewing the Licorice dress designed by Colette Patterns.
May 7th: Muslin
May 14th: Fit and Fabric
May 21st: Guest post by Tabatha
May 30th: Licorice Parade
May 31th: My version of the dress
May 31st: Sew-Along Wrap Party

Licorice dress is completed!

It's no secret that Joan from Mad Men is my favorite character on the show. I even have a Pinterest board dedicated to her and the cast! So when I saw the image below I knew that I wanted to make my Licorice dress look similar to hers.

 I can't look like Joan :( so I have to make dresses inspired by her hahaha. And of course I have her necklace! Off the topic of my dress, but did you watch Sunday's episode? She bummed me out.

 It's funny, while sewing this I did not like the dress at all. I liked the pattern, but hated the pink and purple combo (sorry, Joan!) and wished I had chosen a print like Tabatha's. Then when I was finished I tried it on and my opinion suddenly changed on the color. I am happy with the fit and I don't know what happened, but I like the colors now. My mind is all over the place!

I'm excited that this is my first project for Sew Cinematic!

Do any of you subscribe to Snippets? A recent tip was very helpful and I used it on this dress. It suggested that when you need to turn under a raw edge 1/4 inch to press (for the hem) do a line of basting stitches first, so you will know exactly where to turn it. Genius!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Guest post - Rochelle from Lucky Lucille's Licorice Twists

One of my favorite things about this sew-along has been meeting new people that love sewing as much as I do. When I saw Rochelle's Meringue skirt at the beginning of the sew-along I knew that she had awesome style. What I didn't know was how much I would look up to her! I'm so lucky to have such a friendly, talented, and inspirational lady as my new friend. Thank you for sharing your "Licorice Twists" with all of us!

Hi there :)
First off let me express my supreme sadness for the fact that this is the last project in Sew Colette. Can you believe it’s been FIVE MONTHS?!? Crazy! Thank you Sarah, and Erin, for making this sew along possible, and giving me the opportunity to meet such amazing/creative/positive women. It’s been a blast!
So with that said, I guess through this sew along I’ve become a bit infamous for my pattern “modifications” (*cough* directional A.D.D. *cough*). Just when I promised myself I would stay true to the final project and follow it word for word, Sarah and Erin asked me to share some tips for making a dress more your own! That just goes to show you, you should always stay true to yourself :)
By the end of this post, I hope to have sparked some ideas for you to add your own “twists” to Licorice.
One of the easiest modifications you can make is to pick a non-typical fabric! The Licorice Dress as shown in the book is a bit too formal for me to wear every day. I often find myself using cotton varieties for all my projects because it comes in a vast array of colors, prints, and weights to choose from. Not to mention it’s a sure fire way to make a garment a little less party, and a little more practical.
Try playing with different color and print variations for a fun and easy modification without any actual alterations to the dress pattern itself.
Oh, but you want actual alterations? Great! Try these…

Honestly, I’m not much a fan of the stock sleeves on Licorice. They’re just not my preferred style. Shortening the sleeves, or removing them all together, is simple to do and gives the dress a completely different look. Try an elastic-free version by gathering the bottom of the sleeve and binding it in a circle of bias tape. Or use blanket binding for a wider looking cuff. (Just remember to make sure the circle fits around the widest part of your arm since there will be no stretch!)

The collar on this dress also gives you a lot of options to make the Licorice your own. Or you can simply remove it more a more streamlined look! Try using the same split collar piece for both the front and back of the dress to give you a cute peter pan style. How about a collar made of lace or eyelet fabric? Very chic!

Last but not least, don’t forget all of the small details! Adding a few buttons or some ric-rac is a great option for those who are little hesitant to start slicing and dicing their pattern pieces for something other than a size adjustment. I’m sure most of us have some extra trimmings laying around in our sewing stash just waiting for love. You can always pin or baste your extras before committing. If you have a fancy computerized sewing machine, try some decorative stitching around the hemline. Embroidery fans can show off their skill with some awesome embroidered details on the skirt or neckline. The possibilities are truly endless here!
I recommend printing out Colette’s line drawing for the Licorice dress and dreaming up your own twists to put on this project. Having a set plan is definitely helpful when modifying a pattern, but sometimes you just need to have an epiphany and run with it! That’s how I ended up with a collar and no facing on my Pastille dress ;)
Do you have any mods planned for Licorice? Go for it! I look forward to seeing what everyone comes up with.
Happy Sewing!
Schedule for sewing the Licorice dress designed by Colette Patterns.
May 7th: Muslin
May 14th: Fit and Fabric
May 21st: Guest post by Tabatha
May 25th: Guest post by Rochelle from Lucky Lucille
May 24th: The Final Countdown
May 30th: Licorice Parade
May 31st: Sew-Along Wrap Party

Thursday, May 24, 2012

The final countdown

I still can't get over the fact that we are on our last project for Sew Colette. Sarah and I thought it might be fun to reminisce over our past projects and vote for our favorite garments. Whether you sewed along or not, feel free to chime in with your thoughts. We will be featuring the five favorites all next week.

Speaking of the Licorice dress, I'm making some progress! My muslin is completed (for the main fit at least) and while it looks a little wrinkly/loose on the form, it fits better when it's on me. I'm such a procrastinator, hopefully I will get this done by the deadline. How are all of your dresses coming along?
Schedule for sewing the Licorice dress designed by Colette Patterns.
May 7th: Muslin
May 14th: Fit and Fabric
May 21st: Guest post by Tabatha
May 23rd: Guest post by Jenny
May 24th: The Final Countdown
May 30th: Licorice Parade
May 31st: Sew-Along Wrap Party

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Guest post - Jenny of A Short Version of Things

I was looking around on Flickr for Licorice dress inspiration when I came across Jenny's dress and immediately loved it! Both her muslin and final version of the dress are so eye catching. Be sure to check out her blog for more information and photos. Thanks so much for sharing with us, Jenny!

Hello, hello!

Erin knocked my socks off when she contacted me & asked me to do a guest post for the final project of Sew Colette- the Licorice Dress!  I’d been itching to make this one up ever since I got my copy of the book, and am not disappointed with the results… even if I do say so myself  As usual, the instructions are extra-clear and easy to follow, with heaps of diagrams to boot!  (For this reason alone I would recommend Colette Patterns to any beginner seamstress).  Anyhoo, enough with the chit-chat, let’s get down to business!

What kind of fabric did you use?
The blue dress/ wearable muslin is made from viscose from The Fabric Store in Melbourne and the polka dot collar is a silk/ cotton blend from Global Fabrics in Dunedin.  The collar fabric was quite sheer so I decided to fuse it with a very lightweight interfacing.  I wouldn’t really recommend doing this because even with a light fusing you lose the lovely drape of the collar.

The second dress is made from silk crepe, also from The Fabric Store, and is lined with a viscose lining from Clegs.  I’ve never sewn with 100% silk before but found the crepe pretty manageable and would really recommend it to other people who would like to give it a go.  It’s not as slippery as other silk fabrics but still requires a few extras like patience when cutting, French seams and a sharp needle, all useful things for easing yourself into the nerve-racking territory of extra slippery silks!

Was there a benefit to sewing a muslin first? Do you normally sew muslins?
Sometimes I do & sometimes I don’t, although now that I’m tending to buy better quality fabrics, I guess I would say probably more often than not, even if it’s just for the fitted part of the garment.  I was pretty confident I’d be able to make the muslin of this pattern a keeper, which is why I used better fabrics for it, but at the same time I just wanted to err on the side of caution!  I suppose I would say that the main benefit of sewing a muslin for me is peace of mind.

What would you do differently the next time around?
I’m pretty happy with the fit, but I think I’d like to play around with the sleeves a bit more.  I really love the sleeves on Tilly’s latest button-back blouse, and have a couple of patterns that I might borrow the sleeves from –Simplicity 5347 which has longer puffy sleeves with a cuff, and Simplicity 9747 which has puffy sleeves that are gathered with tucks above the elbow.   Aside from that, I love how the simplicity of the pattern means that you can let the fabric do the talking (“pick me, pick me!”).  I’d like to experiment with a fabric with a little less drape and cute floral print.

How long did each dress take you to make?
I wasn’t really keeping track, but the 1st one, probably a few nights after work, and the 2nd one, maybe a week or so.

Do you have any advice for someone sewing this for their first time?
Because the style of the dress is quite simple, it’s the perfect opportunity to invest extra time in the fitting.  I think the 2 examples of the dress in the book really illustrate how different the dress can look depending on the fit.  One alteration that I would definitely suggest is to add a curve to the straight centre back seam.

Well, that’s all from me folks!  Thanks to Erin & Sarah for having me, and thanks y’all for reading!  Looking forward to seeing all of your creations!

Schedule for sewing the Licorice dress designed by Colette Patterns.
May 7th: Muslin
May 14th: Fit and Fabric
May 21st: Guest post by Tabatha
May 23rd: Guest post by Jenny
May 24th: The Final Countdown
May 30th: Licorice Parade
May 31st: Sew-Along Wrap Party

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Quick project: napkins

Luke and I have some of the best customers, but one of them, Kim, goes above and beyond. She always invites us to business mixers at her office, so we have the opportunity to meet potential customers and members of the community. She's had us over to her house for a party and also hosted a Girls Night and invited me. I knew that I didn't want to just send her a thank you card in the mail, so I made these napkins for her over the weekend. She just had her deck remodeled, so I hope that she can sit outside and enjoy the sunset with her friends and some wine, appetizers, and these napkins!

What projects do you turn to when you want to say "thank you" to someone that has helped you out?

Instagram photo. I know I have asked before, but are any of you on Instagram? My name is misscrayolacreepy if you would like to check mine out :) I'm officially addicted, it's more fun to me than Facebook. Plus you don't have to read anyone's vague passive aggressive posts, score!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Guest post - Tabatha at Thread Carefully

Tabatha is on it! She has been sewing along with all of us Sew Colette ladies and finished her Licorice dress ahead of schedule. Sarah showed me her photos in the Flickr group and we just knew that we had to ask her if she would be willing to write up a guest post. Thanks for sharing your beautiful dress with us, Tabatha!

Hi all! I am very excited to share with you my finished Colette Licorice dress! I was way ahead of schedule for this make, which is most unlike me, so I’ve had all the more time to wear and enjoy my new dress. I love it. Like so many Colette patterns, it is beautifully designed, and of course easy to put together due to Sarai’s wonderfully clear instructions.

My fabric was a love-at-first sight purchase from Remnant House in Harrogate, Yorkshire. That place is packed to the rafters with bolts of fabric, and this one was tucked away out of sight, but a good rummage unearthed this John Kaldor poly crepe fabric and my heart skipped a beat – it was perfect!  I really wanted something with a lot of drape, and this fit the bill, not to mention the gorgeous print and colours! There were no labels, so I took it the counter and was told it was £4.99 per metre. KER-CHING!!!

I actually managed to sew this dress in one day (7.5hrs), including making the muslin, but that was only possible because a) the muslin fit without alterations and b) the muslin then became the lining for the dress and c) my daughter was at nursery for the day! I made the muslin using an old bed sheet which was in good condition except the elastic had gone from around the corners – now I know I could have put my sewing skills to practical use and put new elastic in, but deciding between a fitted sheet and a pretty dress wasn’t really that difficult! I machine-basted the muslin together very quickly (not the sleeves, just the front and back) and tried it on. It looked ok for me. It was a fairly loose fit, but I wanted this dress to be comfortable, and when I looked at the models in the book I could see that their versions weren’t tight-fitting either, plus I knew by the time I’d got the lining and shell fabric together that would pull it a little tighter. So, I basically stitched over the basting stitches and used that as my lining.

The rest of the dress came together very easily. I overlocked my raw edges, and inserted a hook and eye at the top of the zip at the back. The zip I used was white because that is the only one I had at the time, but I might replace it at some point with a navy zip because it does show a teeny bit. For the sleeve cuff, I used up some left-over ready-made bias binding, which didn’t really match as it is grey,
but because it is only used to form the elastic casing and it is turned to the inside, no one knows except me (and all you lot)! I happened to have the perfect amount, and it meant I didn’t have to buy or make any, so that suited me just fine. When I tried on the finished dress, I couldn’t have been happier with the results. Because in its previous life the bed sheet had been washed many times, as a dress lining it
just felt SO soft! It was like sliding between the sheets for a nice sleep, so comforting!

This pattern is definitely one I will be reusing in the future. It’s just such an easy dress to wear:  flattering, pretty and feminine. I think it would be great in prints or solids, and I’m looking forward to seeing everyone else’s versions!

Thanks so much to Sarah and Erin for inviting me to be a guest blogger, and for organising such a brilliant sew-along. I know I have certainly gotten my money’s worth out of the Colette Sewing Handbook thanks to you both!

Schedule for sewing the Licorice dress designed by Colette Patterns.
May 7th: Muslin
May 14th: Fit and Fabric
May 21st: Guest post by Tabatha
May 25th: Guest post by Rochelle from Lucky Lucille
May 24th: The Final Countdown
May 30th: Licorice Parade
May 31st: Sew-Along Wrap Party

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Quilt WIP

One of my New Years Resolutions was to make at least one garment a month. I am happy to report that I have accomplished that, but unfortunately the amount of time I spend quilting has dropped :( This last week I have been focusing on finishing a quilt for my little sister in law, Ariana.

The quilt top is finally completed, but I am not sure how I feel about the mint border...

 A close up. It was not particularly a hard quilt to make, I have just been a slacker in finishing it.

I know that the back doesn't really match the front, but I thought this fun fabric combo would be perfect for a nine year old that loves purple. The quilt front was slightly bigger than the width of the uncut piece of polka dot fabric, so I cut the polka dot fabric into two unequal pieces and added 8 inches of the black and white fabric in between. When you are making a quilt it is very important to have the back larger than the front.

 Lebron was not into the idea of me sandwiching the front, batting, and back together. Putting it all together is always a struggle for me because the animals jump on the fabric.

My neighbor Lora was nice enough to come over and keep the animals away from the kitchen! She even brought me some lemons from her yard. Not to sound like a weirdo, but don't fresh lemons smell amazing?? I want to make these lemon bars that Christine made.

Monday, May 14, 2012

A compilation of links for the Licorice dress

This is our FIFTH project for Sew Colette, the Licorice dress, and as you can imagine there have been a lot of how-tos and tips posted for adjusting the fit of your garments. Below is a list of them. Some of them do not apply to this project, but I thought it best to include them in this reference page. Most of the links are from Sarah's blog. Thank you Sarah for taking the time to write them for all of us!!

Look for Sarah's post on fabric choices. It's going to be a good one!
Schedule for sewing the Licorice dress designed by Colette Patterns.
May 7th: Muslin
May 14th: Fit and Fabric
May 21st: Be Our Guests
May 24th: The Final Countdown
May 30th: Licorice Parade
May 31st: Sew-Along Wrap Party

Mothers Day

 I know this is a day late, but I wanted to say Happy Mothers Day to my mom! I was lucky enough to get to spend last weekend with her in Santa Barbara and Sunday with her in San Luis Obispo. We had a nice lunch at Raku and then walked around downtown to soak up the sunshine. My mom is such a hard worker, a nice person, and a lady with class. I am glad that Luke and I got to spend the day with her. I love you mom!

My other mom lives in England, so I don't get to see her too often, but I was lucky enough to get to talk to her on the phone. I think that as you get older the concept of family really becomes more important. I wish more than anything that Luke and I lived closer so we could spend more time together, but I cherish all the time we do get to spend with her. I love you, Michelle!

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Sewing treasures that I would like to own

Let me tell you about some sewing treasures I would like to own, ok?
Just stumbled across this book, Sew Iconic, on Amazon and let me tell you, I WANT IT! It has patterns and directions for making famous dresses that Audrey Hepburn, Grace Kelly, Rita Hayworth, and several others wore in their films. I'm crossing my fingers that there will be color photographs included. I know that sounds silly to say, but I bought the book Famous Frocks and was disappointed by the fact that there were no photos, just paintings. Not into that. I want to see real people in the clothes, not imaginary people in watercolor paintings, thanks.

I love the Cambie dress in both views. After seeing all the cute versions popping up online it made me realize that it would be such a nice dress to wear this summer and that I need it! Hahaha. My first Sewaholic pattern was the Renfrew and I loved it because of the clear instructions. From what I have read online that is the case with the Cambie.

I love Marisa's blog, so when I heard that she was going to be writing a book I was very excited. Refashioning clothing is something that I would like to do and the stuff she makes is so cute, but whenever I go to thrift stores I feel like I have bad luck and don't find anything good :(

I know that I already posted about this online class at Craftsy for the Sassy Librarian Blouse, but Christine just let me know that it is on sale for $29.99! Love it!

And of course I want to have Gertie's book! I pre ordered this one, so when it is released I will have it asap. I haven't looked forward to a book this much since the Colette Sewing Handbook was announced.

Are there any treasures that are missing from this list? Hahah

Friday, May 11, 2012

Black and yellow

I know that I am pretty boring because my last four sewing projects have been of shirts, but I am focusing on sewing things that I will actually wear. I have a closet full of clothes that get little use, so I am trying to be more practical.

This is a Sorbetto top with sleeves. This was my first time not including the pleat, which I think is a nice change. I also added three inches to the length because I like longer shirts.

This is the fabric I used. The right side (literally on the right side of the photo) is a little too bright for my liking, so when I made the shirt I used the reverse/wrong side (left side of the photo). Does anyone else do that? It was my first time switching it up, but I am pleased with the final product.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Sew Colette - Licorice dress

It's the last project from the Colette Sewing Handbook, the Licorice dress :( I didn't add the sad face to imply that I don't like the dress (I love it), but I am just sad that this is the last item we will be sewing together in Sew Colette.

Here is the schedule for the month:

May 7th: Muslin
May 14th: Fit & Fabric
May 21st: Be Our Guests
May 24th: The Final Countdown
May 30th: Licorice Parade
May 31st: Sew-Along Wrap Party

Since today is May 8th (I'm a day late!) we should all be starting on our muslins. After making a wearable muslin for my Truffle dress I decided that all future projects would be made with a wearable muslin as well. Unfortunately, I am a liar and don't plan on making one for this project. I will make a muslin though, to ensure a proper fit. 

If you have any questions on getting started then ask away in the Sew Colette Flickr group. Need some inspiration? Check out the Colette Patterns completed Licorice Dress post.

Are any of you making muslins? Or have you already made one?

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A post of random things

Did you guys see this?? Christine Haynes has a class on Craftsy for making this Sassy Librarian Blouse. I have never taken an online class, but I really want to take this one. I mean, how cute is this top?!?!

I can definitely see myself wearing this blouse all the time, it would be perfect for me at work.

This version is too cute, my sister would love it. You could even buy the same fabric from Rochelle's work if you want to have the same look.

Ok, on to this past weekend. A fellow blogger and friend, Qui, was in town this weekend, so I asked her to go with me to the Seven Sister's Quilt Show in San Luis Obispo. There were so many beautiful quilts on display, it definitely got me inspired.

This quilt is by Charline from the Santa Maria Valley Quilt Guild. The color doesn't translate well, but the blocks are made up of blue fabrics, all from Hawaii. I love that the whole quilt is blue and white because the quilting really stands out.

My friend Smitty from SLO Quilters made this fun Hawaiian quilt. Look at those colors!

I fell in love with this Gone With the Wind quilt by Karen from the Almond Country Quilters Guild. She said that she got a kit for this online, but I haven't been able to locate it :( 

One of my favorite booths at the quilt show is Beyond the Reef  because everything is Hawaiian. Can you tell that I love Hawaiian stuff? The have the cutest fabric selection and the owner was SO nice. After I bought my fabric she gave me and Qui a pajama pattern, just because.

Now I will be ready for the next online pajama party.

I got 3.25 yards of this beautiful fabric. I want to make a dress, but I need to find the perfect pattern for it...

 Check out this gorgeous Featherweight. It's a prize for the yearly Quilt Shop Tour of the Central Coast.

I asked about the amazing color and was told that it had been painted with car paint to get that blue. I'm not sure if the pin striping was done with car paint as well, but it's beautiful.

That wraps up my random post! :)