Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Closet Equilibrium

My closet has finally reached what I like to think of as "grown-up" status.

I can pull an outfit for almost any occasion out of it right now, whether or not it fits is something my body has to catch up to.

I started to notice this last week when I was going through to inventory clothes for our upcoming cruise and vacation. I needed a semi-formal outfit to wear to dinner a few nights while out. My first thought was my purple Colette dress that I made to wear to a work Holiday dinner two years ago.

The Colette dress.

It fit but it wasn't flattering. Still too much baby shape hanging on.

So I dove back in and found it. A navy blue knee length silk dress with ruffled collar. It may be maternity, but I've only wore it once and it still looks lovely. No weird hem in the front and it doesn't look all bump-a-rific in the front. That whole baby shape hanging on thing works in this dress.

I didn't have to go shopping.

This made me sad, I love shopping, and relieved, I have no time to shop for a semi-formal dress!

Today my closet hit closet nirvana.

I found a belt over the weekend, still had the tags on, but was purchased so long ago the price had faded off of the tag! It's okay I bought it on clearance! I have a lot of belts that I never wear because I want to be the girl who wears the belt to accentuate the tiniest part of her body ala "What Not To Wear" but I haven't ever really achieved that goal.


Until now.

That belt goes perfectly with a dress I made two years ago that never gets worn because the two tone-ness of it seemed to business-y which didn't really make sense because it is a gauze dress which should make it a casual dress. I never claimed to reasonable.

Please pretend this is a lovely photo and not all weirdly colored because of poor lighting.

So now I have a dress to wear to replace the one that I didn't have enough fabric to make the skirt a decent length and it's now a swim cover-up. Which was on my list to sew anyway. A swim cover-up, not a too short dress.

Another crazy thing, I didn't need to buy shoes for this trip. Granted it didn't stop me from buying shoes, I got this pair from Boden that I have been eyeing since in the hospital with Theo and they finally went on sale. Of course I bought the leopard print. And these, but in an adult size see a theme? But the other two pairs I am taking are from my closet.

Yup, this closet thing must mean I am a grown up now.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Swimsuit version 1 and 2

Swimsuit #1

I made my muslin and learned a lot. Big take aways were to use my serger to attach the lining to the outer fabric, it keeps it from bunching up tons. I also figured out the whole "how to put it together" thing. Believe it or not following the directions helps. I put my under bust elastic on the wrong side of the seam allowance and while it didn't affect fit, it did affect the aesthetics.

I have no pictures of the first suit. I followed the instructions to make the full bust adjustment and that seemed to work out pretty well. But overall the whole suit was way too big. I took all my measurements and fell in between two sizes so I went with the larger of the two and graded the pattern out a bit towards the bottom. That was silly. It looked ridiculous. I often think, even with the numbers in front of me, that I am much bigger then I am in reality.

I also added an inch to the length but it wasn't as long as I would have liked it and I hadn't even hemmed it yet. It was all ok because I really didn't expect to have the first suit fit at all and I was impressed with how much it actually looked like a swim suit.

Swimsuit #2

I hacked up the first one to make the second one. I kept the bust cups the same size and re-cut them out of the fabric of the belly and back of the first one, hence no pictures.

I traced out the smaller size that I fell between measurement wise and DID NOT add anything to the bottom width. I did add on three inches to the length and that was perfect. But this one was too big too. It felt like the minute I got into the water the belly would float right up.
I am not stretching the fabric out here with any tension, I'm just holding the excess away from my body.

I think the boobs are too big now though and maybe I should do a high bust measurement, instead of a bust measurement and go with that with the full bust adjustment. I tried stretching the elastic at the top of the bust cup more in case that would help the fit, but it doesn't and it looks lumpy so I won't do that next time. I also used 3/8" elastic under the bust instead of 1/4" elastic and that made a huge difference on the fit and support for the girls. And yeah, that's my poor girls with a little support.

But one of the modifications I did do which I liked was I made the straps much thicker. I just have them tied behind my neck halter style because at this point it was pretty obvious that I wasn't going to do all the finishing of this version since it was still too big. When I make it again I'll crisscross them in the back. They're just basted in place right now, which is why the stitches are showing when you look at the picture.

And if you made it this far, you get to see what I've been working on instead of swimsuit #3.

Cutie Patootie Romper for Theo!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Vacation sewing

I like to make my own clothes. I feel accomplished when I make something that is wearable and doesn't look like I made it myself (unless you look closely, I can always point out my mistakes!)

I usually need a goal to sew towards, like being pregnant. I made a bunch of my own maternity clothes while I was pregnant with Theo. My favorite anecdote of this was one day while in the hospital my mom was bragging about my crafty abilities to my Doctor and said something along the lines of, "Jennifer makes lots of clothes, I bet she even made that blouse she's wearing right now." I looked down and low and behold I had made the blouse I was wearing. Only it wasn't a blouse it was a tunic-y t-shirt but you get the drift.

I leave for an awesome vacation in four weeks! We'll be gone close to three weeks with a small stop in Philadelphia before we head out to our European cruise. I really don't think my current spring wardrobe of stretchy pants and tunic-y t-shirts is going to cut it in the summer heat in Spain, Italy, & France.

I've got a sewing plan though.
- Hem up two pairs of my linen pants to long short or capri length

-sew Navy blue voile blouse Simplicty 2593 I already did the muslin weeks ago minus the collar so I know I need to take the back in two inches and increase the length at least 3" so I can wear a belt with it

- Brown crinkle gauze dress KwikSew 3675 I'm using a Boden dress as inspiration, not that I need inspiration for a simple brown dress, it's just something I saw and said "oh I want that" and then realized I could make something close to it for WAY less the $75 or whatever they were charging

-two rompers for Theo (One in gingham before I cut my expensive Kokka seersucker)

-two collared shirts for Oliver (one trains before I cut the coordinating expensive Kokka seersucker) yup I'm that Mom.

- a couple of my favorite Jalie tank tops (one is already done with a fun lace inset in the back)

-fix the front bodice length on my awesome Grecian goddess maxi dress so I'm not flashing the world when I sit down

-finish the hem and arms on a simple tank tunic that isn't necessarily for vacation but I could be wearing now if I hemmed the dang thing

-and of course the swim suit.

Why am I sitting here typing? I should be sewing. . .

Monday, June 13, 2011

Swimsuit sewing or how I decided to make myself crazy

So in a fit of never fitting my giant nursing boobs (36F-did you know there were letters after D?) into a bathing suit that didn't bag out everywhere else I decided to sew my own swimsuit this summer.

Please note that I did not say I would actually wear said bathing suit.

I scoured online blogs, PatternReview.com, and more online blogs for any and all tips and tricks I could learn. Most of them were things I already knew, use ballpoint needles in your machine, use a zig zag stitch or stretch straight stitch when sewing, pin like the dickens!

Some were things I never even thought of like, disengage your serger knife when sewing the elastic on. The seams are all only 1/4", which is how wide my serger stitches are so I don't need to trim any off anyway and if a little bit hangs over it'll loop over the edge of the elastic to help encase it anyway.

I ordered my patterns. I went with Jalie because I love sewing their other stretch tops and find them to have an awesome fit. I ordered Jalie 2447 for the top and Jalie 3023 for the bottom.

I also ordered my lining from Sew Sassy (c'mon you know you love the name, say it with attitude!)

And one day Theo and I scoured Downtown LA for some awesome fabrics. I bought four different ones, two prints and two solids (black and brown) and found a place that has an AMAZING selection of nylon/spandex fabrics and they have a website! Blue Moon Fabrics. Although it's not a super useful website.

I was prepared. Now it was time to sew. . .