Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Finished projects

So I have a few things that I finished sewing. Sarah has the pictures of the first dress I made, I think she's holding them hostage. When she send the pics I'll post some.

This is the second dress I made, the one I posted a few weeks back about doing. Turns out it did include lining instructions- and they were way easier than that 1st dress I made! The yellow and black dress instructions were a pain. The instructions for this dress were so easy I'm going to make another version of it soon!
Stacey was so happy with it she wore it home. I also made a boo-boo into a design element. I cut the teal part of the skirt too small- I thought that if I had taken two inches off the bodice I needed to take two inches off the skirt. In theory it is correct but in practice I wasn't sure it would work. But I had already cut!

So I added some of the bodice fabric down the back middle, where the zipper is, and I think it looks super cute. I had to add 2 pleats to the back but they don't distract from the overall look. Its a way-cute summer dress.

Then we went shopping at Joann's on Memorial Day. I had PLANS for clothes and I needed fabric. Got home about 3 o'clock and finished this top in about 3-4 hours:
 It was my first time working with knit and it wasn't easy. It's 2 way stretch so no elastic or zippers on this baby. It took longer than expected because, well, I sewed the sleeve on upside down- totally sewed on, straight and zig-zag stitched in place. Had to pull it ALL OUT and start over. Still, cute end result.

But I wasn't finished! I wanted to work on that skirt. It sort of goes with the top but not sure if you would wear the 2 together since the top is a little longer than anticipated.
I am in love with the paisley of this skirt. I think the skirt took me overall 2ish hours and it isn't finished. I didn't hem it yet and there is supposed to be elastic put into the waist band but I have to fit it on Stacey's body before I do that.

I am so happy I bought that material. It's a super cute fabric for the skirt. Just plain calico cotton from Joann's. Sometimes you can find treasures there!

Still in progress: The grey skirt with a chiffon-like overlay and the different version of the teal dress above. Very exciting.

Meanwhile, still in love with Chris Pine but definitely developing a crush on Sherlock Holmes. This one:

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Making a purse, Butterick 4822, ruffle purse

So I would like to do a few how-tos on sewing, just to share some knowledge with the blog-o-sphere if someone stumbles upon this. When I learned how to quilt I started with patterns and worked forward to where I know kind of do my own thing. Same has been happening with purses. I assume it will eventually happen with clothes, but I'll let you know.

This purse pattern: Butterick 4822 has 5 different purses, this post is for purse E, the ruffle purse in the middle:

I am going to explain what I did to modify the existing pattern but in order to actually make the purse you will have to purchase the pattern from a store- not a big deal, all my patterns I buy when they are $1.00 at Joann's. The rest of this post is operating under the assumption that you have bought the pattern.

I made the purse for my sister Stacey and learned a lot from the first making of it. When I made it a second time I knew what I wanted to modify. Here was Stacey's final purse:
She had beaded fringe that I had found for cheap but it wasn't quite wide enough to cover the ruffle. It is not sewed on in the prettiest way but since it was for family I wasn't too worried about it. The whole thing turned out cute overall.

For my second attempt I cut the pattern pieces out about a week before I actually had time to sew it. I used fabric we had lying around (we have TONS of fabric lying around) but I ran out of the main fabric when cutting out the strap. No problem, I just used the lining fabric for the inside part of the strap and it all worked out, as you'll see in the end. The biggest thing about cutting out the pattern is the change I made here:

I like to have a facing so when you press the top edge seems if it is a little off it's not a major deal. Meaning the top half of my lining is the same fabric as the outside of my purse. So instead of one lining piece I cut the top half of my lining to the top cut line shown above and lining fabric from the bottom of the pattern to the bottom cut line. They are an inch apart so I sew the two pieces together with a half inch seam. The "top cut" line I drew is 6" down from the top of the pattern. When sewn together you have this for your lining piece: 
I think it makes for a nicer finish. Your interfacing is cut as one piece and goes on the back of this. After cutting all your pieces out and getting your two lining pieces to look like the picture above, you start following the directions.

Already, at step 2, hemming the ruffle, I am going to suggest a change. The pattern calls for you to hem the bottom and sides of the ruffles. I prefer to hem the top and the bottom of the ruffles instead. Reason 1, because you are going to sew the ends of the ruffles into the side seams (trust me), and reason 2, because the top hem is exposed. Even though it is covered, if you lift the top ruffle you can see the top hem of the bottom ruffle. It just looks bad. Hemmed looks much better. So hem the top and bottom of the ruffle as the directions say to do to just the bottom and sides. 

Your two sets of ruffles should look something like this:
They don't have to be perfectly even- they are going to be ruffled!

Now you look at your cohorts to see if they are having as much fun as you are:
I think I am having more fun but boy do they look rested. Sometimes I want to cuddle up under there with them. They look so comfy!

The directions in the pattern are pretty straightforward from here. You make gathers in the ruffles, pin them and sew them onto the front and back pieces:
The next change I make comes at step 9, sewing the front and back together. The directions say to not catch the ruffles in the seam but when I made my sister's purse I did one ruffle in and one ruffle out and the one inside looked much cleaner and prettier than the one out. So line 'em up and sew 'em in.

This will take a couple extra minutes to get it just right. Make sure you get the edge of the ruffles lined up with your seam as much as possible and don't get any extra caught in there. Make sure your ruffles line up well on the sides. When you're finished the side seams will look like so:
 Much cleaner and you'll be happier in the end with the results.

I sewed this part of the purse at my Nana's house but realized I didn't have any ribbon to finish it off over there. I thought I might have some at my mom's but I wasn't sure I'd have anything that would match the pink. So I finished the lining by adding my pocket:
And realized I had to go home to finish the rest of this purse.

Once home I found that I had more ribbon than I thought I did:
But surprisingly, the pretty ruffle ribbon didn't look good on the already ruffly purse. I ended up going with the grosgrain pink ribbon because the stiffness of it really worked the best with the softness of the purse. I did fold in half to make it a little thinner, however, because the full wideness looked too weird. You have to sew on the ribbon and decorative button or however you want to decorate your purse before you sew the purse and lining together. The ribbon is basically there to cover your stitches where you sewed the ruffle to the bag.

My strap was sewn together with the lining fabric on the inside and the main fabric on the outside:
 Apparently by the cutting board I did that at my Nana's as well. This was just a picture to see that you don't have to use the same fabric on both sides of your strap.

Finally, you can simply follow the rest of the directions. When I finish off a purse I have the outside shell of the bag right side out, pin the straps how I want them, then stuff it into the lining of the bag so right sides are together, then repin the straps.
Blurry picture of straps between shell and lining

First pin your sides, then your middles then the betweens around the edge. It helps distribute the fabric around the circle:
You can see my magnetic snap closures, I like to back them with extra fabric or interfacing to give them strength- the magnets are really strong. You have to put them on your lining before you finish, usually when you put the pocket on. They are super easy to install and I bought a bunch in bulk so I use them all the time. 

Anyway, now it's time to sew around the edge of the purse there on the top. You turn it right side out, sew up the hole in your lining, shove your lining in the bag and you are almost done! The directions say to sew on the button now but you should have done that back when you sewed on your ribbon. Press your top seam, getting it as nice as possible, the seam at the very top of the purse. Then top stitch about a quarter inch all the way around the purse. It isn't in the directions but I always think a nice top stitch looks neater than no top stitch. 

And voila! You have a cute ruffle purse.
Once you make one you'll want to make more! They are fairly quick, I made this in a few hours. I think they are so cute!

If you have any questions or need clarification just comment below and I'll try to answer.

Off to sew some other purses while watching one of my favorite TV shows, Falling Skies. I hope to post more tutorials/pattern adjustments here in the future!

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Back to writing

Trying to write a scene for a round robin story my sister and I are doing. Just a scene that I would like to use in the future. But it involves something I am very bad at writing- kissing. Kissing scenes are my downfall. Stacey can write a killer kissing scene without much effort. I have a hard time with it. So here I will link some things I found that now, and in the future, should help me when thinking about writing about kisses.

Writing About Kissing

Kissing Scenes

Writing a kissing scene

This doesn't help but it's hilarious: Writing the kissing scenes...

Kiss and Tell

The biggest things I've gleaned from my once overs on these posts and a few others is that the physical act of the kiss is the least interesting part. Focusing on the build up, the setting, the senses, and the emotions are what make it special. Reading about body parts touching can make the reader as squeamish as it makes the writer writing them. Write about everything else going on and make it a special moment.

Ok. Got it.

PS: There are 8million gifs out there of Chris Pine licking his lips. It's a nervous tick/habit he seems to do when on air. Just google Chris Pine gifs and you'll see.

Meanwhile, I'd like to make out with his face please.

So adorable. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Writing on the backburner

So so much has happened since my last posting. I have scrapped the last book I was writing. Not totally, but it needs a total make over, rehaul, redo, recast....so it's become something I don't want to look at right this second. Hannah and Caleb will have their moment. Just not this moment.

I have been thinking about my original book, as yet untitled, about Mia and Ian and dragons. I went back and re-read what I wrote a year ago; I have half a book written and written fairly well. I just need to sit down and write. Every time I try, however, I get distracted. By things.

It's my cycle- I am just coming out of a video game cycle. I would rather crush some Imperials on SWTOR than do just about anything for the last 2 months. Now I haven't logged on in a week. Now I'm in the sewing stage. And it is taking over everything!

It started with purses. I started small and then found out I have a knack for it and it's progressed from there. Now I can make some really knock out, professional looking bags. I recently got some sample size fabrics from the home decor section of Joann's for $1- two to three of those will make one small "date night" purse and it only takes me about an hour. How fun!

Then I started making clothes for my sister. The first shirt I made was a disaster, mostly because it was the wrong type of fabric. My second attempt, a dress, seems to be going much better. I did a muslin sample on her first to fit it, like I've seen them do on Project Runway, and so far it has been going well. I just need her to come over to make sure it fits and to hem it, finish up the lining and she'll be good to go. I am also working on a matching purse for which I have so many ideas it's crazy.

So ... my writing blog may turn into a sewing blog. I think I will try and take pictures of my next project just to document the journey. I have another dress that I am making for Stace- I am excited to start on it. It is less fitted so it should be even easier!

Off to work. Yes I am working, just not on the things I thought I would be...


This is my next dress for Stacey, the one in black and yellow on the right. It's only 5 pieces, I think I am only going to do a muslin for the top as that is the part that is fitted. It is also not lined, thinking about trying interlining with it. I also got extra (end of the bolt! 50% off!) of the flower material for a cute matching handbag. I plan to have the muslin ready to try on Stacey next weekend when she comes out to visit.

Tomorrow: Purse to match black/white/yellow dress.  Some date night purses. Dogs to dog park if not raining. Take things to Salvation Army. Clean my room.  Busy day!

Some cuteness to end on:
So adorable.

PS. I love Hart of Dixie. Wade is so yummy!