Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Create What You Wish Existed In The World: Fabric Printing for Little Miss.

Update! This fabric is available in my Etsy store!

Over a year ago  a child at the YMCA told my darling child her free flowing curly locks were weird. Her feelings were hurt, she was saddened and confused. She wondered how someone could be so ill-mannered and cruel. After a conversation, reading her books, "Happy to Be Nappy" and "The Skin We Are In" and she let it go. It wasn't so easy for me to move on and I made a note to step up my "you are awesome" and "fearfully and wonderfully made" game.  

I looked around for fun fabrics with kids like my daughter represented. I found a few, but they included unicorns, princesses and fairies. I have bought them and think they are great, but feature fantasy and myth. I wanted a normal design based on real people; based on us. When I couldn't find what I was looking for I decided to make what I wanted.


Lately, I have been playing around with fabric printing. I have shared the prints I have previously experimented with on my Instagram. They have been small sample size and border prints, but never yardage enough for clothing. The process is imperfect and time-consuming so I was reluctant to print on a larger scale until now.

I made this Afro Puff Diva using design software and a die cutting machine. After careful consultation with the model, I hand-stamped the diva with black fabric paint and white flowers between. I love the texture the fabric paint gives. Some stamps are completely saturated and others have a weathered appearance. 

I chose to use New Look 6320 to make this dress and it was a fast and easy make.

                                   Image result for new look 6320
I love the collar on this dress. I wish I could take credit for perfect alignment of the diva on the collar when folded down. It was a happy coincidence that the hair and sunglasses matched up. I couldn't have planned for that had I tried.


I didn't want to hope on chance on the sleeve placement. I wanted the image centered, so I printed them directly on the cut sleeve piece.

I modified the dress to have side seam pockets and chose to add a regular zipper instead of the suggested exposed zipper.


I love this and want one for myself! I have made a stencil of this and other designs I am working on. I hope that airbrushing the fabric will be faster enabling me to make more in less time. It will result in a different texture but I think it will be good. 

Can you tell she loves her hair and her dress? The positive messages she receives far outweigh the random carelessness of a poorly raised kid. I love that since that incident she continues to completely embrace her identity, asserts herself when confronted and moves on respectfully. She is so great! I want to be her when I grow up!

Happy (confident) sewing,

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,