Monday, November 26, 2012

Craftsy class for totes

A few weeks ago Rochelle posted about a free class on Craftsy. At the time I had not taken any of their paid or free classes, but when I read Rochelle's post I became interested in the class on making simple tote bags. My interest was piqued for a couple of reasons.

One, in San Luis Obispo County (where I live) a recent ban on plastic bags went into effect. Basically, at every large store (large is determined by building square footage), like grocery stores or Target for example, plastic bags are no longer offered and paper bags are available for a fee of ten cents per bag. I have no problem with this, but I have a problem remembering to take my bags inside the store with me! I figured that if I made some cute totes it might help me remember.

Two, the bags would be great Christmas gifts for my local friends that are in the same boat as me and need stylish bags for the grocery store :)

I made this tote with my friend Shawntel in mind, she loves elephants and has a huge elephant tattoo on her arm! It's hard to see in the picture, but the fabric is an elephant print.

The tote has a square bottom, which I like. Oh, I didn't add pockets to the inside because it's more of a grocery bag than a purse. The way the instructor sews the pockets is super neat and I want to incorporate them into a future bag. I'd take the class just for her tip on sewing the pockets!

I give my first Craftsy class a thumbs up. It was my first, but will not be my last. I see a Sassy Librarian Blouse in my future...

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!





Today I plan on spending time with my family, eating good food, and squeezing some sewing in :) I hope you enjoy your day as well!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Chelsea dress wearable muslin

Over the weekend I finished sewing my Chelsea wearable muslin. I really wanted to take photos, but the weather was rainy, so my photo location spots were limited. Plus, the lighting was super weird, which is why these photos aren't the greatest, so forgive me.


Anyways, I know I already said it, but I LOVE this pattern! For the most part it was so easy to sew together. The only thing that challenged me were the buttonholes, as they were a new skill for me to learn. If you already know how to sew buttonholes, then you will fly through this pattern! The directions were VERY clear and there was not one point where I felt confused. 


Literally every single pattern I have ever sewn has required a zipper or darts. This pattern did not require either, which was refreshing. I'm used to wearing more form fitting clothes, so the way this dress fits is new to me. It's so comfy and I love it!!!


 Buttonholes!!!! Thank you so much to everyone that responded to my last post and gave me advice on sewing these guys. I practiced until I felt confident enough to sew them on my muslin. When I finished I was so proud and happy to have learned a new technique. I truly could not have done it without your help!


Just a tip for anyone that is planning to sew this: make a muslin. First I made one out of actual muslin material and planned on just sewing up the sides to check the fit. Well, that didn't work too well because of how the yoke attaches to the front and back of the dress. I made the rest of the dress (yoke, collar, sleeves) with the muslin fabric and was so happy that I did. The dress ended up being huge! I retraced the pattern two sizes smaller and then cut into this pretty wearable muslin fabric. Now the fit is great! All I need to do is add a few inches in length when I make the final dress, as the muslin is pretty short on me.


Pockets!!!!!


Throw ya paws up if you like this pattern!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Sickie sewing


Oh man, I have been bad about updating my blog this past week! My husband and I have had the worst colds and to top it off work has been incredibly busy. When I get home all I want to do is watch TV and fall asleep, so I haven't been sewing as much as I would like. I'm happy to report that progress has been made with my Chelsea wearable muslin though! All it needs is a hem and buttons on the yoke. However, and I am embarrassed to admit this, I am terrified of buttonholes. I have never sewn them before, but I am facing my fears this weekend and trying them out (are you laughing at me????). Does anyone have any tips for me? 

P.S. This pattern is awesome and I can't wait to cut into my fabric for the final garment. 

Friday, November 9, 2012

Addicted to Veggies - Sarahfae

Once upon a time I had a very generous friend, Sarahfae, that created a recipe for a coconut dish when I requested it. She posted it on her blog, I made the recipe, and fell in food love. Unfortunately, I was a huge jerk and didn't ever say "thank you" properly with a gift :(

I decided to say "thank you" with this flamingo apron. When I saw the fabric I immediately thought of Sarahfae because flamingos are her thing! I bought the fabric and made the apron on Monday night.

 Some thoughts on this photo:
1. The black along the border of the apron is gathered, but it's hard to see in the photo.
2. Why is Lebron the cat headbutting the chair?
3. Are you jealous of my Lucky Lucille headscarf?

This fabric comes in a few other colors. I'm thinking that I need to get a couple of yards to make myself a dress....

Thank you Sarahfae for being a good friend, a talented cook, and a fellow "old soul." I am so lucky to know you! xoxo!

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Peony Parade

There were tons of beautiful dresses that I would like to feature for the Peony Parade, but I just choose two for today :) Be sure to look at the rest of them in the Flickr Group.

Peony with Belt
hopefulmorning's version is so gorgeous and red is definitely her color! Like many of us, she had a list of alterations to make, plus she changed the skirt into a circle skirt. You can read more about her dress on her blog.

peony-test-twin
Velosewer chose a beautiful fabric for her dress, you guys know how much I love Hawaiian fabric, right? ;) This dress was her "test" version, but it looks pretty perfect to me!

Thank you to everyone for participating in the sew-along! I'm looking forward to the next one :)

Monday, November 5, 2012

Peony dress

This weekend's adventure led me to Santa Barbara, a place I don't visit too often. You would think that since it takes under an hour and a half to drive there that I would be more familiar with it, but I'm not. I feel kind of "meh" about Santa Barbara. 

I wore my Peony dress for the trip and I am SO happy to have completed it! The dress is not hard at all to sew, but fitting it is much more tricky. I'm embarrassed to tell you how many muslins I made and I am still not one hundred percent happy with how the dress turned out. Why? See below.

It doesn't look too bad in the first photo, but I still have fitting issues with my dress. The upper part of the bodice isn't as loose as my wearable muslin, but the lower part is still so wrinkly. It got to the point where I had to just work with what I had and tell myself that this is a project I will have to come back to in the future. There is no point in being angry and pissy over a dress, sewing should be fun!

There are a few things I like about the dress. One, is the color. It's a perfect green, or at least I think it is! Two, I learned so much from this dress. I learned how to make a narrow shoulder adjustment, how to make darts that flatter the bust, and how to move darts. These are all valuable techniques that I will probably need in the future and thanks to this dress I know them inside and out :)

While we were shopping, my husband and I went into American Apparel to buy a few things and the girl ringing us up made my day. I was secretly feeling insecure about wearing the dress, but when she saw me she asked me to back up from the register because she wanted to look at my dress. She said she really liked it! :)!!! It made me feel sooo much better. I tend to be pretty hard on myself when it comes to sewing and her compliment reminded me of that. 

The day finished with some Pinkberry yogurt, yum! The weather has been in the 90s today, so I keep daydreaming about my yogurt from yesterday.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A magical anniversary trip to Hearst Castle


Can I tell you about my recent trip to my most favorite place on earth? I must warn you, it's not sewing related, but may be of interest to those of you who love history or Old Hollywood.

William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies. source

For our anniversary Luke and I went on the Hearst Castle night tour, the only tour I had not yet been on. There is so much to be said about William Randolph Hearst, the creator of the famous castle, owner of many newspapers, journalist, and art aficionado, and what I quickly touch on will not do him justice. There are many books written about him and I highly recommend this one if you would like to learn more.

Not far from where I live is the most beautiful castle, Hearst Castle. It is nestled on a hilltop in San Simeon, California with a stunning view of the ocean and surrounded by gorgeous gardens. WR (William Randolph) had constant construction going on for twenty eight years and never officially finished building. The insides are furnished with art from all over the world which span literally hundreds and thousands of years. WR and his companion Marion Davies (a well known movie star in the 20s and 30s) would invite all of the big names of the times for visits. It would not be uncommon to see Charlie Chaplin, Joan Crawford, Louise Brooks, Amelia Earhart, Howard Hughes, Winston Churchill, Cary Grant, Douglas Fairbanks, George Bernard Shaw, F. Scott Fitzgerald, or Jean Harlow walking the grounds. It's a very long guest list and those are just the ones I can name off the top of my head! FYI I would love to time travel to this time and place!

Cary Grant relaxing at the Castle.

Charlie Chaplin entertaining guests.

Alright, I'm dying to show you pictures from my latest trip! Just so you know, on all tours camera flash is not allowed. It made taking pictures at night a little more difficult and some are grainy, but there are still a few good ones.
It's a fairly quick bus ride up the five mile hill to the Castle.

All of the tours start here, the Neptune pool. Can you imagine lounging here with the stars in Hearst's heyday? Guests were brought bathing suits to wear and sometimes got to take them home. Every year the tour guides get to swim in this pool. I'm considering becoming a tour guide... ;)



I found the photo of the girls on the Life google search a few years ago. It always cracks me up!

Our next stop was to one of the guest houses. All three of the "guest houses" on the property are what I call a "mansion." The one we went into was the biggest of the three and the one that Hearst resided in while the Castle was being built. It is just as ornate as the Castle.

One of the perks of going on the evening tour is seeing people dressed up as Hearst's guests.

A Singer sewing machine! I couldn't go in the room, so I leaned in as far as possible and zoomed in on my camera.

 It's much more amazing in person.

 The "living room" was the first stop inside the actual Castle. The guide told us a story about Errol Flynn doing impersonations of people in front of the fireplace.


The "dining room."  Hearst sat in the middle of the table and the newest or most interesting guests sat closest to him. If a guest exceeded his or her stay, Hearst slowly moved them towards the end of the table, next to the fireplace. A guest (I believe it was Harpo Marx), was seated at the end of the table and said he had no idea how the food at the Castle tasted, as he ate as fast as he could to get away from the fire haha.

Guests were allowed to drink small amounts of liquor and they were not allowed to bring their own. This caused people to try and smuggle in alcohol in their suitcases!

The library where legend has it that Marion Davies would tumble across the rug.


 Hearst's study. The painting of him was added after his death.


The tours always end with the most beautiful pool I have ever seen, the Roman Pool. It is breathtakingly stunning. There are eight statues throughout that are either Roman gods or heroes. It's crazy to think that the tiny tiles have gold inside!

When the tour ended our guide told me that I should come back and work at the Castle, it made my night! We talked a lot about Old Hollywood and my love for Marion Davies, so I think she could tell that I was a big fan :) If I didn't have a HUGE fear of public speaking working at Hearst Castle would be a dream.

Have any of you been there? Does anyone have an interest in Marion Davies or William Randolph Hearst?