Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Challenge Accepted! Day and Night Dress Blog Tour

Happy New Year!
I hope you all have had a wonderful holiday season with the ones you love. I had an enjoyable time with my family. I have been working on my contribution to the Day and Night Dress Challenge hosted by Elizabeth Made This. 

Typically, I am a jeans and t-shirt kind of woman. When I wear dresses, they 
are usually shift or Mod style in bold prints. As my children get to big to be picked up and carried, I can now begin to expand my dress options. I have pinned thousands of dresses that I want to add to my wardrobe. When Elizabeth asked me to be a part of the inspiration team for her challenge, I was flattered and excited to have a reason to make one of these dresses.

Going into this challenge I knew I wanted to sew from my stash. I pulled a Vlisco Super Wax fabric that I bought last year and had planned to sew before buying more. I didn't keep that promise, but I came close.  I bought it in a 6-yard cut and planned to use most of it in a maxi length wrap dress. 

I chose to make McCalls 7185 in a sleeveless version of view c. I modified it by lengthening it to the floor and extending it by an additional 22 inches. The construction was pretty straightforward for most of it. I however, just about lost my mind on the waistband construction on step 20. I have mentioned before, that I have spacial orientation issues at times. It took me three times of stitching to figure out that the bodice facing needed to be flipped up toward the bodice and not down. When I figured that out, which is obvious to me now, it went along without a hitch.

A few of the dresses I admired on Pinterest had tie belts so I thought I would add one. Now that it is all made up, I don't think I need it. It is lost in the print. In addition to the tie belt, I added side seam pockets and I am so glad I did.

I was slow to make a maxi length Ankara wax print dress before now. I was worried that it would be too much of a good thing. Because the fabric is thicker than regular cotton it feels like a lot of fabric. I was also concerned that there would be too much bulk when worn. I am pleased to say if feels just right.


Now that I have made this, I think it is the right balance of print, pattern and visible skin (the "girls" don't normally see this much daylight).  


I love this dress! It has satisfied my long held dress envy and I don't know why I waited so long.

"I like to party and by party I mean stay at home and sew." I can relate to that quote so much. I don't have much of a night life and I have no complaints about it. I do however, get an occasional whim to have a glamorous night on the town. If I were to follow that whim, I would have nothing to wear. I welcomed the opportunity to add an evening dress to my wardrobe. 

I loved the dress I made for a friend to wear for her 60th birthday party using McCalls 7047. To satisfy my dress envy for that one, I decided to make a version for myself. I would have loved to make it in the same sequin fabric of the pattern cover and my friend's dress. The cost of that fabric and my lack of an occasion to wear the dress, I couldn't justify the cost. Instead, I found a Casa Embellish knit that is a cotton/poly/metallic blend. It has a soft drape and is lighter than the sequin fabric I used for that dress. It is light enough that I also used it as the lining for the skirt portion of the dress.

I made the dress straight from the pattern with no significant adjustments. I omitted the waistline elastic however, because the stretch of the fabric made it unnecessary. I hemmed the dress on my serger to make a rolled hem.

I really like my dress, but must admit to feeling a bit self conscious with how close fitting it is. I don't know what to do with my hands. 

I love that the cowl neckline can be worn on/off the shoulders as well as asymmetrically. 

To add a bit of pizzazz to the dress, I added a crystal belt. Now that it is photographed, I am on the fence about wearing it in real life. I think I prefer it without.

As I satisfied my dress envy with this one, I hope I have given you some.

If I have, why not join Elizabeth's challenge today?  As a participant, you have the chance to win great prizes. In addition to that, some of the sponsors are offering discounts on their fabrics and patterns. Please let me know in the comments if you are taking the challenge.

Be sure to check our all the other participants in the blog tour for your dress envy: 

Sunday, Jan 8th: Elizabeth of Elizabeth Made This, Brittany of Brittany J Jones
Monday, Jan 9th:  Maria of How Good is That?,  Tonya of Sew So Petite
Tuesday, Jan 10th: Je’Tua of Robertswife, Meg of Cookin’ and Craftin’, Melanie of Its Melanie Darling
Wednesday, Jan 11th:  Linda of Elle Gee Makes, Tee of Maggie Elaine
Thursday, Jan 12th: Bianca of Thanks! I Made Them Sew Can You, Daniela of On the Cutting Floor
Friday, Jan 13th:  Melissa of Mahlicadesigns, Rachel of Sew Redy, Renata of Runnningnstyle, Sonja of Sewing ala Carte
Saturday, Jan 14th: Doja of Elewa blog, Judith of Judith Dee’s World, Tanya of Mrs. Hughes
Happy Sewing,

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Day and Night Dress Challenge hosted By Elizabeth Made This

Are you looking for a new sewing challenge to begin 2017? How about adding two new dresses to your wardrobe. Elizabeth at Elizabeth Made This is hosting a two part challenge to encourage you along. I will summarize it here, but you can read all the details and inspiration are on her blog.

"The idea is to make 2 dresses--1 with a day look, and 1 with more of a night look. For your day dress, think bold color and vibrant prints. What shows off your personality best? What kinds of styles get you through your day? For your night look, think fancy and black. Where will your little black dress go? To the opera? To a night on the town? To a swanky cocktail party?"

The first part of the challenge is a blog tour that I will be participating in along with several other bloggers. We will be showing our looks and inspiration from January 8-14, 2017. The challenge then opens to community contestants from January 8- 28th, 2017. After that, there will be a voting period where a first and second place winner will be chosen.

Elizabeth has partnered with several great sponsors to build impressive prize packages  for the winners. If I wasn't a part of the tour, I would certainly enter for a chance to win. In addition to the prize package, several of the sponsors are also offering fabric and pattern discounts to participants. Join the challenge and Facebook group for the coupon codes.

I am not sure what I will make for either dress, but I have few options. I am torn between making something that is wearable and "me" or something dramatic, but less practical. I will be posting my pattern and fabric considerations on Instagram. Be sure to pop over there if you want to follow along. 

I hope you will join us!
Happy Sewing,

Btw: Thank you for your votes in the Make the Fabric Your Own Contest. My skirt won!

Thursday, December 8, 2016

Delving into Art Design Fabric

I really enjoyed my time at The Houston International Quilt Festival and Market last month. If you follow me on Instagram, you would have seen some of my exploits. I really enjoyed seeing the behind the scenes workings while helping my friend Cheryl of Paradiso Designs. While not helping, I was walking the floor meeting new-to-me fabric designers and companies. 

One of the companies I discovered is Frond Design Studios and their retail store  Delve MIY. Their fabric is made by transferring artwork to textiles! Their catalog is extensive and beautiful, be sure to pop over to the site and drool. I met the owner, Stephanie Brandenburg, and was given an opportunity to play with some of her fabric. 


I love the large scale print of this Weeds design. I took several weeks considering a pattern to showcase the details of the art without breaking it up too much with the seaming. The tunic on Simplicity 8138 felt like a perfect combination .the simple silhouette is a great canvas to showcase the beauty of the dandelions in this print. 

I liked that the back is sectioned into three pieces. It adds interest to the back rather than being cut on the fold. 

Because this was a fast and easy sew, I also felled the seams and stitched them down. 

I found the pattern had excessive ease below the bust. With a cotton fabric, the tunic stood away from my body in an unflattering way; it made me feel boxy. That and the high side slits, I had concerns about my modesty on a windy day. to remedy this, I added two vertical darts to the front reducing the width by about 4-inches.

I like this a lot. I enjoy clothes that make me feel provocative, without looking like it.

I love this tunic. It works for my lifestyle and aesthetic  At its’ base, I am wearing a t-shirt and leggings! This easy topper implies a greater level of style consciousness than my daily kid wrangling knows to be true. Additionally, the fact that the fabric is awesome artwork takes some of the creative pressure off of me. I can be a stylish, and comfortable walking canvas.

I am excited to get stitching on my other Delve/Frond fabrics. Here are swatches of other fabrics I got. I have a definite plan for making some of these into dresses, yoked tunics, and wishy skirts for me and Little Miss. I also have the overly optimistic idea that I might try my hand at quilting...

Genesis from Rosewood Organics
Plaster of Paris in Fennel
Painting Dandelions Linear Mod Petite
Painting Dandelions Panel
Barnboard Whitewash

Painting Dandelions: Wish Petite

Painting Dandelions: Grand Linear

I got a bit carried away with the "Dandelions" line huh? I have those in mind for the quilt and maybe coordinating pillows. I love them all and cannot wait to make them up once the Christmas holidays end freeing my time up again. 

Which of these are your favorites and what would you make?

Happy Sewing,

Monday, November 28, 2016

Make the (Shower Curtain) Fabric Your Own

I have many reasons for entering sewing contests. Sometimes it's the prize, sometimes it's to teach my kids lessons in working hard, winning and losing. Other times it's to develop a new skill or for the challenge of adding creative elements. I enjoyed the "Make the fabric your own"  round of the 2015 PR Sewing Bee. For the creative challenge, I decided to participate in the stand along contest currently running on Pattern Review

The goal of the contest is to modify fabric in a way that changes the end result.  For this skirt, I started with a Room Essentials garage sale shower curtain. I did not intend to channel my inner Scarlet Ohara for this project, but when I saw this fabric, had no choice. I love the mix of large and small scale motifs and thought it was the perfect base for embellishments.

I used an out of print McCalls 6389 skirt pattern as the base. I like the higher waist and cannot resist a maxi skirt with side-seam pockets.    


To change the fabric up, I added embellishments to the upper surface and behind the fabric. The skirt is covered in frayed applique, hand embroidery, and reverse applique. I love the improvisational process of this skirt. Each embellishment was taken on its own when I decided what to do. 

Collage of Embellishments
Over the course of weeks between custom orders, I would pick it up and stitch on a whim. 

Despite my lack of planning, I was careful to keep with primary colors and solids so the end result remained cohesive. 


With all of the hand work involved, there were lots of thread tails and fabric edges on the underside of the skirt. I added a full lining to protect the work and my skin from the loose ends.

I had so much fun with this! It is the first of its kind for me and I am really pleased with the result. There are areas I love and others I may change in time. I have it in my mind to keep working on it when I need a stitch project. This will become a walking stitch sampler by the time I am done. 

There are relatively few entries in this contest. I am surprised considering you could do whatever you want with the fabric. It overlapped with another contest, so I think others gravitated toward making for that one. Regardless of the reasons, I am anxious to see the other entries in this one. If you are so inclined, I would appreciate your vote for my skirt if you think it is worthy of it. Voting will open on Dec. 3.


Life is too short for boring clothing so go and make something breathtaking!

Happy Sewing,

Friday, October 28, 2016

A Pattern with a Purpose The Pattern Review Lillian Blog Tour

New Pattern Alert! Deepika at Sewing Pattern Review has released a new pattern, and she asked me and some talented bloggers to make it up. The Lillian is a knit top or an A-Line dress with a V-Neck Yoke and cap sleeves. The front yoke allows for subtle bust shaping as well as infinite design opportunities. The pattern sizes range from xs-plus. I made the pattern in size small for my pieces. 

After seeing the super easy pattern with the yoke, I knew it was the perfect canvas for a hand-sewn element. 


Blue is my favorite color, and I love the combination of navy and baby blue together. I stenciled using silver paint, and I stitched the layers together with slate colored button and craft thread. I secured the v-neck with a herringbone stitch from my sewing machine. I used navy thread to keep it invisible. I did not want to distract from the applique details.

This top is sewn in a single layer of cotton jersey except on the yoke that is a double layer. The seams are all felled to the back and top-stitched in contrasting thread to add more visual interest.

Apparently, I have a multiplication problem because I made another version of the Lillian. What is with me and double makes lately?  This time, I made the dress version. I added reverse applique to the yoke and to a section of the lower skirt.


This is a new color combination for me. I used sage green jersey for the outer layer and beige (not nude :P)  for the backing layer. The shapes of my stenciled motif are accented with gold airbrush paint. The hand-sewing was done using Dogwood colored button and craft thread. The v-neck bias strip of this version is secured using a parallel stitch. 


I started this dress on Sunday and it was done by Wednesday. Granted, I am not new to this, but even for me, that is quick. The larger scale of the motif makes this super fast to sew. The dress when sewn in regular knit fabric can be sewn in 2 hours! 

This stencil image is free in my Craftsy store if you want to give it a try. If you want to give it try, but want to save a step or 2, I have "you cut" stencils in my Etsy Store.


This pattern was inspired by Lillian Weber of Dresses for Africa and 20% of the sales will be donated to to that organization in her memory. You can read more about that here.  

I have written a Pattern review of these makes that can be read here.

Want some more inspiration to make yours? These talented sewists will be posting about Lillians on their blogs this week, so be sure to check them out.
Oct. 24th Jstarr4250 (Julie)

Happy Sewing,