I heard there was a Mardi Gras store that sold fabric. After I got over my disappointment in ALL OF MY FRIENDS who didn’t tell me this anytime in the past two years, I drove across town to behold the wonder that is this sparkly stuff. I bought a few yards of it, and it is being transformed into a dress to wear to the parades as we speak. It is not, however, meant to be apparel fabric, probably more suited for decorations, but who cares?! It’s Mardi Gras! So I also got green satin to line it, and sometime in the coming days, you’ll see what I’m making with it. It’s definitely fun!
PS While writing this, I realized I sewed my first clothing item two years ago today! That’s nuts! What a fantastic two years it has been. 🙂
Funny story: I washed this glittery fabric so I could make a skirt out of it (a Helen’s Closet Donovan skirt) and, well, okay, the boys’ uniforms were in the same load. Linus pulled his shirt out of the dryer and disgustedly asked me why his shirt was sparkly. I just shrugged and played dumb. Don’t tell him!
For the first few months of the year, I didn’t do a ton of sewing for myself. I made a lot of Mardi Gras scarves for other people, so it kind of burned me out on sewing for a bit. Fortunately, it came back sometime in the spring.
I can’t say enough good things about this. I get compliments every time I wear it. Lots of compliments. I was a little skeptical at first of using this IKEA upholstery fabric but it was the right call. Yet another great layering piece, and not at all hard to make. Continue reading →
I’ve wanted to tackle a proper jacket for myself for a while. For a while it was going to be the Chilton Trench by Cashmerette (and I haven’t ruled it out or anything) but it seemed a bit complicated and I don’t want to make it until I find the perfect teal twill anyway. But then Helen’s Closet posted about the Pona Jacket, which is very simple – unlined and not even closures, so I jumped on it. Bought the pattern the day it came out, and immediately knew which fabric I was going to use.
When we were in Virginia, I bought some fabric at IKEA but without any ideas for it. It’s a cotton canvas, not super heavy, but definitely meant for home decor. I thought a shift dress or an a-line skirt, maybe. The print was very large and bright, so whatever it was, it was going to be BOLD.
Well, obviously it was just waiting for this jacket pattern to come out, because it’s a match made in heaven. The only small issue is that it’s really more of a spring print, and it’s November, but WHO CARES?
It was a pretty easy make – I’ve made several button down shirts for George and the boys (and other male friends) so a collar and lapel and facings aren’t a huge deal to me. But because this one has a neck facing as well, it was SO much easier to deal with. I have a feeling every one of those button down shirts I’ve made is slightly wrong around the collar area. OH WELL. No complaints yet. (I don’t know enough about construction to know if it’s because shirts use yokes? Or I suppose a neck facing in a button down shirt would be weird? But anyway, whatever.)
The whole thing came together in an evening, which was exciting. I love quick makes that look impressive!
This summer, I started watching The Good Place. I’d started watching it when it came out, but then stopped for whatever reason. I decided to pick it back up, and while I was watching the second episode, Miles wandered into the room and sat down. And was hooked. By the third episode, all three were watching it (and had gone back to watch the first two.) Over the course of a few weeks, we binged all three seasons and were pretty obsessed. We even listen to the official podcast. Nerds.
I thought it’d be fun for the boys and I to dress up as characters from the show for Halloween, but you already know they declined to do that. I’m not sure why, honestly. They re-watch episodes constantly and we actually sit and watch the new episodes when they air. (Who does that anymore?!?)
But I still wanted to do it, and naturally with my hair I wanted to be Janet. (I hate wigs.) (And strapless dresses aren’t my thing.)
I thought briefly of buying a purple vest and skirt on Amazon but AS IF. Instead, I bought a few yards of purple scuba fabric. Obviously I was going to make it myself!
The skirt was easy. I figured I’d make a simple half circle skirt, but then I remembered I have the perfect pattern – the Linea skirt by Wardrobe By Me. That came together quickly, especially since I left out the pockets. I hemmed it using bias tape to give the bottom a little more body.
The vest was a little more challenging. At first I was just going to wing it and use a t-shirt pattern and just hack it, but then I came across this blog post from a woman who made a Janet costume and decided I needed to step it up a bit.
So I went to Joann’s and bought a pattern since I couldn’t find any suitable pdf patterns. I ended up getting Butterick 5359 which worked perfectly (view C.)
Well, I should have lengthened it some, because once I was done I had to pull the skirt up to my ribcage so that the top would be covered by the vest.
In any case, it was pretty easy. I couldn’t find buttons in the correct color, so like the other blogger, I painted some that were close with purple nail polish, which cost me like 17 cents at Walgreens. Nice.
The last thing I tackled was the shirt. I had a plain white button down that I was never going to wear again, so I decided to paint the design on it instead of tracking down expensive fabric and sewing a shirt I’d never wear again.
My plan was to make a design of the stencil with my Silhouette and then paint it on the shirt with a mix of blue and purple fabric. In my head, it came out perfectly. In reality…well, I mean, it was a bit messier. Oh well! I also bought a little bit of white crepe fabric from the remnants bin, painted the design on that as well, and safety pinned it to the neck of the shirt for the ruffle. I mean, it wasn’t exactly ruffly, but it worked well enough.
Before the neighborhood Halloween party Saturday night, I straightened and curled my hair (thank goodness it wasn’t humid!) and put on some makeup and low heels and voila!
The hem of the skirt
The messy sleeves
The vest and its painted buttons
I was pretty pleased that so many people at the party knew who I was dressed as. I mean, I did get a few “Violet Beauregarde?”s but not too many.
Next year…Bad Janet?
PS If you don’t watch it yet, start at the beginning and watch!
In spite of my lack of blogging, I’ve actually been sewing a lot lately. In between sewing costumes, I made Linus a Go To Jacket with a hood, but without a chin guard (it was too fiddly when I made Miles’s, so I decided it would be okay to go without. And it was.) He loves it, even though it’s inexplicably too big. I think because the fabric I got (a 97/3 cotton/lycra blend) was a lot stretchier. Miles’s was made of ponte and lined with a knit, so it definitely didn’t stretch as much. But I’m sure it’ll shrink and/or he will grow into it. 😀
Oh. And I have no idea where I went wrong with the pockets. This version had inseam pockets, but as far as I could tell, there was only one pocket piece, but I couldn’t find instructions on how to close the top. So I top stitched it to the front piece, which looks weird and I may re-do later. 🤔
Oh and I messed up one of the front pattern pieces but didn’t have enough fabric to cut it again so I re-cut the messed up bottom half, and then cut the other side in the same place to make it look “blocked” and on purpose instead of an accident.
Anyway, it’s super cozy and he’s happy so win!
The other fun sewing project was making a dress out of the sequined fabric I bought a year and a half ago. This fabric is so dreamy that I couldn’t bear to cut into it. And also I was terrified of sewing with sequins. And also I wanted a pattern that would have relatively few seams and nothing fiddly. At first I was going to make a skirt but the thought of putting a zipper in made me back off. Then I remembered the pattern I’d bought for me and Kiki’s Arsenal dresses this summer – the 100 Acts of Sewing Dress #1. It’s basically a shapeless trapeze tank dress but only one pattern piece so perfect! Who’d be looking at me with that fabric anyway?
I decided to line it with pale pink satin, and basically I just made the dress twice. I attached the lining at the neck, where I used bias tape to finish the seams. And I finished the arm holes of the sequined dress with bias tape (but the satin dress was just serged in matching thread.)
It was a bit big, (obviously this was before I made my Ellis skirt) but it worked well enough. I don’t have any great pictures, but I got a lot of compliments on it and it was comfortable and easy.
So what’s coming up?
Well, I need to make my own Halloween costume, but it should be fairly easy. And I’d like to make another Blackwood Cardigan, and another York Pinafore, and maybe some joggers, and this jacket looks intriguing but I haven’t had a ton of luck with Seamwork patterns. I really want to make the Tillery skirt out of denim, maybe? Or corduroy? Possibly the canvas I got at IKEA? But then I saw the new skirt pattern from Grainline yesterday and I’m a bit starry eyed over that. But maybe I’ll save that for the spring. Maybe they’ll finally expand the sizing on the Farrow dress that I’ve been dying over. And I’ll reward them by purchasing two patterns.
Oh shoot! And I just forgot I got the new Tobin Sweater pattern from Cashmerette, and they threw in the Appleton for free! That said, I’m not really into the idea of a wrap dress for myself, but I might try making it as a top instead. So yeah, I’m gonna be busy. 😀
(Speaking of Cashmerette, the most exciting thing happened this morning – I opened an email newsletter AND THERE WAS MY BUTT! Normally, I wouldn’t be excited about seeing my butt anywhere, but I was very honored that the designer chose to feature my version of her skirt! YAY!)
I’ll finish off this post with a photo of my (very tiny) closet. I took everything out of it that I didn’t make. So yeah, this is all me-made. (Not all of it, either, by a long shot!)
I’ve told this story before, but I started sewing right after Mardi Gras last year. Right after I spent a day frantically buying random things and hot glueing and doing anything I could to avoid a needle and thread for our Mardi Gras costumes. All things considered, they turned out pretty well. But then within a week I fell headlong into this sewing obsession, and I had to wait until Halloween to get an opportunity to finally make costumes for the boys that didn’t involve tying fleece together or safety pins.
But they just wanted to be soccer players, and as you might imagine, we have plenty of soccer uniforms floating around. No sewing required. And then Mardi Gras came around again and they could not be convinced to go in costume (tweens, amirite?)
Now they are nearly 12 and my chance to lovingly craft costumes for them is probably nearing the end, so I hounded them endlessly for ideas that I could make. Inexplicably, Miles came up with a penguin, and Linus decided he wanted to be the Easter bunny. I mean, of course.
We had an event yesterday (Sunday) and these decisions came on Friday, so I didn’t have long. I could have made Oliver’s costume as well, but I was not unhappy to see that we could buy it at Target. So we did:
So back to Miles and Linus. We went to Joann and bought a bunch of black, white, and pink fleece. I’d make Miles a tunic he could wear with black leggings, but I’d need to make Linus pants as well.
Since a penguin needs flippers, I didn’t want to just use a standard shirt pattern, so I thought the dolman sleeves of the Pumpkin Spice Dolman from Patterns for Pirates would work well. I printed out the smallest size and got to work.
Boy, it sure is easy to sew when you don’t have to worry about finishing seams!
Miles also needed a hood for his penguin head, so I used the pattern pieces from the Go To Jacket I am working on for Linus, and just used a pajama pants pattern for the bottoms. (I would have used the P4P pattern for this as well, but I had a Simplicity pattern for kids’ pajamas that was just as easy.)
Then I cut out a white chest piece and sewed a red bowtie (guess where that pattern came from?), stuck that on, cut eyes and a beak from felt and voila! We had a penguin!
Next up, the Easter Bunny!
This bunny got a pink belly and we made him a Halloween-themed bow tie. Because the Easter Bunny respects holidays that aren’t his own. He didn’t need a hood since we’d purchased ears. I used eyeliner to paint on whiskers and we dug out Linus’s Easter bucket and filled it with eggs. I also found some gloves that belonged to a Mario costume from a few years back. Too bad one was lost at the mall. Oh well. But still, the cutest Easter Bunny ever (promise he and the penguin weren’t as grumpy as they look here.)
Since Halloween isn’t for another couple of weeks, I have some time to adjust and finish their costumes. Miles needs shoe covers for penguin feet, and he wants the belly to go down further. We need to attach a tail for Linus, and maybe figure out how to secure the ears onto his head better. And of course I need to make my costume (no spoilers.)
Back in March, I made a test version of the Ellis skirt by Cashmerette. I had bought a kit from the designer with nice denim and all the accoutrements (rivets, button, topstitching thread, etc.) but I only got around to using that kit last week or so.
The problem is, I gained a bit of weight since March so I wanted to size up a tad. But long story short, I sized up too much. Why do I always do this? Plus, I didn’t seem to learn anything from the mistakes I made the first time. If I decide to make this skirt again, though, I know exactly what to do.
Sew the ding dang zipper closer to the center front seam! Don’t line up the edge of the zipper with the seam, but line up the zipper teeth.
I realized that when the zipper is lined up the way I did, the waistband ends up being too short. So then I had to take apart the waistband and add more length to it.
And then LATER when the waistband was too big, I had to take it apart and remove that length.
So, don’t look too closely is all I can say.
But in the end, it fits okay, not great, but well enough, and it looks like a denim skirt and I love the topstitching I did on the back pockets. 🇬🇧
Look! A weird picture of my butt! (I lightened it so you can see the stitching.)
Oh and the lining fabric went with my pocket theme…
(Like before, this is view A in the length of view B.)
Coming soon: More sewing posts, because I’ve been sewing a lot!
Middle school. I sure hope it’s kinder to them than it was to me.
I promise, they’re happier than the smiles (or lack thereof) would indicate. Especially Miles. That’s his “smile.”
They enjoyed looking at all of their past first day of school pictures, so I had them re-do this one from 8 (eight!!!) years ago.
They’ve changed a little.
For now, our bus stop is literally a block and a half away, which is amazing. But we will probably move to one a bit further away so they won’t have to be on the bus for two hours (!) every afternoon. I’ll enjoy this little walk until then.
Getting on the bus!
Sewing tangent: I made Miles’s jacket and Oliver’s leggings. The jacket was a real labor of love, it’s the Go To jacket by Patterns for Pirates. I’ll post more about it later.
I’ve made a few Wardrobe by Me patterns – notably I’ve made the Tropical shirt about fifty times (well, really more like five) for George and the boys but I’ve also made the Linea skirt twice, both times as gifts. So now it was my turn to make something for me!
When I saw the Akinori pattern I loved it, but wasn’t sure it was for me. Mostly because of the waist tie. Pam doesn’t do belts. It’s one of my cardinal rules. (I also don’t tuck things in and I also don’t eat celery.) But if I didn’t do the tie, it would be too loose. And loose dresses, I have learned in time-consuming and expensive ways, don’t work well for my shape.
But…well, maybe I’d just give it a try. I didn’t have to wrap the tie around my waist twice. I could just tie it in the back.
I decided to use the linen print I bought last summer at Mill End in Portland. I wasn’t sure if it would be flowy enough, but what the heck. If I didn’t use this fabric now, it would be another year before I could, since summer was technically ending soonish. (I mean, not really, this is Louisiana, summer is year-round, but I like to pretend it’s cool in the fall and wear seasonally appropriate clothes.)
So I got to work sewing up the pattern. Pleats always confound me, but I figured it out (with a little help from the designer and other sewists in the Facebook group.) But then I got stuck again with the semi-circular front insert piece. It was tricky because it uses a sort of burrito method (which I used in the Tropical shirt as well) but I was okay with that. It’s when I got to sewing around the front insert piece and it was just waaaay too big.
That’s excess fabric I’m pinching.
You can see how low the neckline might be here.
I asked for help, unpicked those pleats like fifteen times, tried easing the fabric around the circle, etc, etc, etc. Finally, I just said “screw it” and cut about 1/2″ from the insert pieces all the way around and sewed it up. I figured if things were off down the road I’d deal with them then.
But it all worked out from there! Everything went smoothly! And I put in one of my new labels I got in Virginia.
I put it on and decided wrapping the tie around my waist twice added too much bulk to my (nonexistent) waist, so decided just to tie it once in the back. Much better! But now the ties were almost dragging on the ground. I wore the dress out last weekend and just tied a bow. Later, I cut about 18″ off each of the ties. May have to cut more off, we’ll see.
Also, the neckline is way too low for my comfort, so I need to tack it in place a bit. I used a safety pin when I wore it.
I made Terry take a picture of me at her house, so here you go!
The silence is deafening. There’s no sound of a soccer ball being kicked around the kitchen, banging into cabinets, making me cringe every time I hear it hit the dishwasher or the oven. I don’t hear YouTube videos about some soccer game or how to solve a Rubik’s cube or how to bake the perfect snickerdoodles. I don’t hear FIFA ’19 being played while an 11 year-old commentates in a bad British accent.
All I hear is the air conditioner, sometimes a car driving by, maybe Ziggy barking at a UPS truck.
It’s blissful, and it’s the only week of the summer I’m going to get this peace. The boys are at camp at Jean Lafitte National Park, and the best part is, it’s not far from George’s work, so he’s even driving them! Heaven.
The quiet is especially welcome because it’s been a busy week. Terry’s daughter’s quinceañera was Saturday night, and I was feverishly sewing shirts for the males in the house, and finished them just in time.
Here is a pic of the boys in their shirts:
And a family pic at the quinceañera, but you can’t see that the colors in their shirts perfectly coordinate with the Upton dress I made last summer. That was not even on purpose! A happy coincidence.
A few more pics from that night:
And then on Monday, Oliver and Miles were in the background of a tv show that’s coming up. We had to be at the zoo at 5:30am, which was not fun. Linus went to camp by himself that day.
Meanwhile, I can’t even really work out much because I have tendonitis in my right shoulder, which suuuucks. It means I can’t do more than half of the exercises at Orangetheory – no rowing, no upper body anything, nothing that requires a plank position, nothing that uses my shoulder. Blah. At least it’s not something worse. Shoulders scare me. But it means my arms are going to turn from fierce guns to blobs of goo.
On a happier note, in just two weeks, Kiki gets here and we start our road trip to Virginia! So exciting!