And then, this one time....

I blogged!
Wow, November just flew by in a flash! Here's what I've been up to:
For Halloween, I made a "Blue Fairy" costume for Addy:
Blue Fairy Costume
Bodice detail:
Blue Fairy Costume
I like to take the extra time to create well-crafted Halloween costumes, because in our house they are used for dress up for YEARS! The extra few minutes spent serging the seams provide hours of fun later.
Ok, that was October. Let's move on to November.
Early in the month we drove (yes, drove) from upstate *eastern* New York to Chicago for my sister's wedding. The wedding was SO fun, and well worth all of the hard work (and the drive!).
As I've mentioned a few times, I made the flower girl dresses. My sister's dress was made up of tulle and lace layers - not poofy princess layers, but soft, subtle layers. We both love that look, so my sister asked me to make the girls' dresses in a simple shape with a similar layered lace bodice. They were really simple to construct, but time consuming!
Main fabric is silk taffeta from Mood. Sash in silk taffeta from J. Crew in "Bright Dahlia". Lace is a polyester lace from Mood. Lining is china silk and many yards of tulle.
(These poses are all her. She's such a character!)
Flower Girl Dresses

Flower Girl Dresses

Flower Girl Dresses


Flower Girl Dresses

Flower Girl Dresses

Flower Girl Dresses
The girls looked adorable in the dresses, and they both partied hard all night!

I also have a few pictures of my sister's bridal shower. We had the shower back in July, in my mom's back yard. Come jump in my time machine with me!
I used vintage bedsheets as table clothes and hung fringed linens along the fence (seen in the background):
Wedding Shower!
And mason jars filled with grocery-store flowers:
Wedding Shower!
The other bridesmaids helped set up the dessert table and bellini bar:
Wedding Shower!

OK, let's travel back to November now...
I created a few other things for the wedding as well. I made my sister this tote as a birthday gift (she got married on her birthday), but in her wedding colors, so that she could use it on the big day:
Stacey's Tote
I hand dyed the canvas used for the bag bottom. It was so fun, too! I started with a neutral colored duck canvas and used magenta Rit dye. This color isn't nearly as saturated as the wedding color, but I love it anyway! I also love the mottled look, although that was unintentional.
The main fabric on the bag exterior is the stripe from Bella, by Lotta Jansdotter. I densely quilted the white stripes with organic lines.
Stacey's Tote
The handles are 1" cotton webbing covered with Michael Miller Cotton Couture in Indigo (I love these solids! They are soft as silk!). The lining is my favorite print from Chickopee by Denyse Schmidt.
Stacey's Tote
The style and construction of this tote is identical to the Modern Quilted Tote. I used hair canvas and a layer of batting as a foundation and metal snaps to help support the handles.
Stacey loved the tote, and I think she will use it a lot on her commute to work.

I have one more project to share right now! My aunt requested a custom plus sign quilt including cats, so I hustled through my sewing to finish it in time to hand deliver it in Chicago. The recipient loves cats, and my aunt wanted to include a picture of the recipient's cat on the quilt. I used a cat print from Happy Drawings Too as my starting point and added prints in greys, gold, and purples. (These pics are a bit small. I forgot to take pictures before our trip, so these are smaller files that my aunt emailed over.)
Cat Quilt
The back:
Cat Quilt
My aunt had the quilt for a few days before she gifted it, so she hung it on her quilt rack to admire it!
Cat Quilt
She loved having the quilt hang in her house so much that she now wants her own quilt!

After our trip to Chicago we celebrated Thanksgiving at home and I started to work on a quilt idea for Quilt Con. The day after thanksgiving I traveled to Seattle to run the marathon again, which went GREAT! I took 25 minutes off of my time from last year, and had a blast! After the race I spent a day catching up with friends and then hurried back home.
This week I worked my butt off to finish up TWO quilts just in time to submit in the Quilt Con show. I'm really happy with how they both turned out, but I didn't get very good pictures of one of them. My camera battery died just as daylight was fading away, so I tried taking my pictures inside. They aren't the best, but hopefully I was able to edit them well enough. Fingers crossed!
As soon as I have better pics, I will blog about the quilts!
That's all I have for now, thanks for bearing with me!

Innocent Crush Dress

I made this dress last year for Matt's work Holiday Party. I was still living in Illinois with Addy at the time, so I flew out to Seattle for the party. I never took adequate photos of the dress, until this fall! We had our family photos taken, and I decided this dress would be perfect. So after we spent some time walking through our neighborhood for the family photos, I asked Melissa to take a few of my dress! (And my coat, I'll show that later this week!)
The front:
M-9202
Pockets!
M-9204
A side view:
M-9206
Fashion Fabric: Anna Maria Horner, Innocent Crush VoileTurn of Events in Indigo
Lining (not shown): Free Spirit solid voile in Powder
Pattern: Project Runway Simplicity 2922
I really like how this dress turned out. I made a muslin first, which was helpful. I took up the sleeve length a bit, because it looked a bit droopy. If I were to make it again, I would probably make the dress a bit more fitted (it is meant to be a sheath dress, though!), and I would omit the zipper. I find that sometimes zippers make it harder to wear belts with dresses, because they don't flow with the fabric. (See above photo...) And this pattern really doesn't need a zipper, it slips on quite easily.
I also added a lining to this dress. I was worried about the weight of the voile for a winter party, and I was a bit worried that the dress would be transparent, as well! It was super simple to add the lining, and I think it was worth the extra money I plopped down for matching voile. (And I may be a tiny bit anal about how I finish the insides of my garments. I did serge this, but I also love that the lining makes the inside of the dress as polished as the outside!)
I have absolutely no clue what size I sewed this dress up in. I probably graded the pattern to adjust for my small frame on top and wide hips, but even that is a guess this late in the game. ;)
This is probably my favorite handmade dress to date! I love the fabric, I love how it looks, and I love that it can be dressed up or down. (And layered! I wore a fitted turtle neck under it for the holiday party. I was toasty warm!)
*One thing I will add about the Project Runway line of patterns is that all of the design elements are mix and match. It's a very fun way to customize a garment, but it involves overestimating fabric yardage, because the pattern gives you yardage for cutting each element from a DIFFERENT fabric. I bought 4 yards of this voile (yes, I'm really that crazy), because I followed the pattern envelope yardage. When I bought the lining I only got 2 or 2.5 yards (I can't remember which!) and it was plenty.
Maroon_low-8977
All photos are the work of Melissa McClure. Check her out, she's fabulous!

First Day of School Dress

Addy started preschool a few weeks ago. It was a bit hectic in the beginning, because we switched preschools the day before she started. Earlier in the summer I called our first choice, and they had a long wait list. We finally found another program with availability, and then our first choice had a few kids move out of the area! So far she likes it, and the kids and parents are very friendly.
For her first day of school, I made Addy the Puppet Show Dress (pattern includes tunic and dress length!) by Oliver + S. I knew that I had to use fabric with pink in it, or I would run the risk of her not wearing the dress. I decided to give the pretty Pat Bravo prints a try, and I love them! The colors are vibrant and the fabric is so soft! I feels sort of like a poplin, but a bit lighter weight. This fabric is from an older collection,  Naturella.
Dress front with the peter pan collar:
 Bodice detail:
 Sleeve detail:
 Buttons running down the back!
 Button at the sleeve:
 Love those buttons!
I couldn't get any great shots of the dress on Addy, but here's one that I love:
One of Addy's teachers complimented her on her dress the first day, and Addy actually said, "My mom made it!" Her teacher even asked me after school if I really did make the dress - it got rave reviews!

Little Red Dress

Last fall my college roomie was in town to photograph a mutual friend's wedding. We try to coordinate family pictures whenever Melissa comes to Illinois, but this year Matt was in Seattle each time that she was here. Knowing that her visit in October was going to be my last chance at pictures for awhile, I decided to have her shoot me and Addy. (And the prints made a great Christmas gift for Matt!)
As soon as we set the date, I started debating what Addy and I should wear. I loved this dress kit from the first time I saw it, and I decided that this was a good opportunity to buy it! I think it turned out really cute, and it photographed so well.

Some of my favorite shots:
All photos are courtesy of Melissa McClure Photography.

The dress turned out great, we had a fun day with Melissa, and Matt loves the photos!

The Far, Far Away dress

Now that the Far, Far Away II fabric has hit the stores, I'm finally getting around to using and blogging about my Far, Far Away I!

This dress started off as a shirred sundress.  I wanted to make something for myself, and I read some really great reviews for these simple dresses.  Not wanting to mess up, I thought it would be wise to use a pattern for what was supposed to be a super easy dress.  Lucky me, I found the Mendocino Sundress pattern!

I printed the pattern, stared at it for awhile, and held my breathe as I cut into the fabric.  After I had the pieces assembled and all of my edges serged, I started sewing with the elastic thread.  16 rows of stitching later, I held the dress up.  Wow, it looked tiny.  But it's supposed to be tight, right?  Well, kind of.  I could get the dress on, but it certainly didn't look cute.  I searched all over the internet for tips, when I stumbled on some comments about printer settings.  Oops.  My pattern pieces were probably half of the size they should have been!

There wasn't any chance that my purple double gauze would even be transformed into a shirred dress, so I compromised.  I added some 1" elastic at the top, thin little halter straps, a gathered piece under the bust, and a tie.  The gathered piece is only sewn down to the dress at the top and bottom, so they form a nice channel for the tie.

 


It's soft and comfy, plus it has fun pockets.  Overall I think it's the best fabric save I could manage with the pieces that I already had cut. :)