Sunday, September 29, 2013

Mary Adams "The Party Dress"

This post is in honor of the wonderful Josephine's Dry Goods, a wonderful fabric store in Portland that just closed it's doors yesterday, sniff.

A few years ago I walked past the window of Josephine's and there was this amazing dress in the window, along with a copy of Mary Adam's The Party Dress book and a notice that she would be in town to teach a class. Sigh. Wouldn't that be fun, I thought. Fast forward a year. My friend Lisa and I were walking past again, and again there was a notice that Mary Adams would be there. "We're signing up," was all Lisa said. So we did.

We bought outrageously beautiful and expensive fabric, and for two days we sewed with the wonderful Mary Adams. My dress is made with purple dupioni silk with a purple lace overlay on the bodice and black silk organza overlay on the skirt.

Mary Adams consulting with a
class member.

I originally had a red organza for my skirt which I  pin-tucked.

My dress as I originally imagined it. The red didn't
match the purple silk of the top, so I opted to make a black
organza overlay for the skirt instead.I still have the
red skirt, maybe some day I'll make another party dress!

The final dress. I added three rows of thin black gross
grain ribbon to the skirt and a black bow belt from Forever 21.

Since I'm not really into strapless dresses, I used the lace
overlay of the bodice to make cap sleeves, held in
place with quarter inch black elastic in the seam. 

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

One Pattern, Many Dresses

I usually don't make more than one of a pattern, which I guess is pretty dumb if I find a pattern I really like. I'm getting better at this, though. There is, however, a pattern that I've made many versions of for my daughter. She has always had a thing for strapless dresses, and Simplicity 4070 has served me well.

The firsts dress

The first dress I made with the pattern was with this beautiful faux silk dupioni (ok, it was polyester) that I found on clearance at Joanns.

The Babydoll dress
Later she wanted a dress for her cousin's wedding. We saw one while we were out shopping and of course I said, "I could make one like that." I cut the bodice off under the bust and put on a gathered, tiered lace overlay skirt and made it babydoll length.

Then there was the prom dress. During the winter of her senior year, we saw some crazy outrageous shoes and joked that she should get those for prom. Then when the prom approached, she said she was serious, she wanted those shoes. By that time they were long gone from the store. Luckily we found them online and built a dress around them.

I decided to make a muslin to make sure my idea would work so I got an old border print sheet that had belonged to her grandmother.

The bedsheet muslin

Then I got satin that matched the shoes, and made my favorite version of the dress (thus-far...). Check out the shoes!

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Knitted Headband

Last winter my daughter and I were out shopping. She saw a knit headband and said she would like one, knowing full-well my reply: "I can make one like that." So I did a quick search on Ravelry and found T. Matthews Fine Art's simple and free pattern. I used Lion Brand Super Merino Cashmere, bought at Michaels with a coupon of course. The pattern calls for bulky yarn so i used two skeins and knit two pieces at a time. It turned out really cute. I might have to make one for myself!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

A Dress Made Out of a Tablecloth

My sister has this great lake house in Minnesota that I love to visit. One of the best parts of visiting her is going to this awesome flea market close by. My sister knows me well and sent a package of stuff she found that she knew I would love - some vintage lace-edged hankies and tablecloth. My daughter took one look at the tablecloth and said, "What are you going to do with that? Make a dress or something?" To which I of course replied, "Why yes, I think I will."

I dug out this vintage McCalls pattern I had stashed away. Much to my delight, the previous owner had already made some sizing adjustments, so I only needed to make minor adjustments.

And voila! A dress made out of a tablecloth!

Friday, July 26, 2013

Giving woodcarving a shot

And now for something completely different... For my dad's birthday, my daughter had a wonderful idea. He has a beautiful backyard that he calls "Weber Park". My daughter thought he should have a sign for it. My son just took a woodworking class and had bought this set of carving tools and I thought, how hard could it be to make a sign? So I bought a piece of basswood (very soft and easily carvable).

 The first step was to make a paper template and gently press the outline in the wood with a pen.
Here's the outline carved into the wood.

Then I just plugged away at carving out the surrounding wood little by little.

And the final product, with a few coats of marine varnish to finish it off! He has since hung it up in his yard - I'll post a picture when he sends it.

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Silk Scarf Tunic

Latest project finished! A while back I saw a tunic with a silk scarf print at an expensive boutique and thought, as I often do, "I could make one like that." I found a pretty silk scarf at a vintage store and bought some silk for the back and yoke.

I used Butterick B5217 for the yoke.


I'm pretty happy with the results. The colors are much more vibrant,   it's kind of a grey day and my camera is a little wonky.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Let's Get This Party Started!

I've been telling people that I'm going to start a blog for a couple of years now. I actually did start another blog a while back, but never got around to posting much, or telling anybody about it. So it's time I got this started for real. I'm thinking what I might do, since I have been making stuff for years, that I can get this started by not only telling you what I'm doing now, but showing some of the things I've made in the past.

Right now I have three projects going, and two others on the back burner (and about a thousand ideas going through my head). I'm working on two sewing projects: a tunic made from an old silk scarf and a dress made with items I picked up at a vintage store's $1.00 table. A couple of days ago I decided to make my dad a present - a sign carved in wood. I'll get cracking on taking pictures and posting these!