September 28, 2011

Ballet Dress

Ballet Dress
This is my "I'm proud of myself for doing this right on the first try" pose.

This dress was traced and slightly altered from an existing dress I own. I call it the Ballet Dress mainly because it reminds me of a dress that a ballerina would practice in.

Ballet Dress

It's got a scoop neck, three quarter length sleeves, a semi-circle skirt and a slightly higher than normal waist. The perfect little jersey knit dress to run around town in.

This was originally intended to be just a test run but it turned out good enough to wear so that makes me very happy indeed!

Ballet Dress

That doesn't mean it's perfect. Here are a few changed I'll make next time:
  • Tighten the sleeves a little
  • Maybe lengthen the skirt by a couple inches
  • Make the neck binding smaller - it is a little baggy in the back but I wasn't trying my best to fit the binding because I wasn't taking this dress very seriously at the time.
  • Give it a normal waistline rather than a slightly higher one
  • Iron the dress before taking pictures ;)
Ballet Dress

Since this dress was supposed to be a tester I made the top with a heather gray and then because I didn't have enough gray left I made the skirt in plain black.

The great part about this dress is that it is so simple. I can easily make small changes to my pattern pieces and because of its simplicity it is a great canvas for awesome fabric. I plan on making a bunch of cute sweater dresses this winter.

Ballet Dress

September 26, 2011

Made by you!

Partially finished craft/sewing room
Whoa - would ya look at that?? That's my craft room! Well, from a couple months ago. Now there is more utilitarian stuff on the walls and more trash and scraps in general but you get the idea...


Greetings readers - no new projects today. I've had one of those unproductive weeks that come around every once in awhile but I'll be back in the swing of things soon. I've got a long sewing to do list and several ideas that need to be fleshed out.

In the meantime I am thinking of adding a page on my blog dedicated to projects made by others using my patterns. I love seeing other sewers' interpretations of my patterns that I have on this blog and I've saved a few in my bookmarks but I really should make a formal list.

So, if you have made something using one of my patterns and you have a blog or online photo album or something, please, leave me a link and I will list it on my new page.

September 23, 2011

Pattern Review Featured Member


I got a surprise while checking my email this morning. I received a note from PatternReview.com saying I was a featured member. I say surprised because one - I don't have that many reviews and I don't participate in forums,contests or anything else besides pattern reviews for that matter, and honestly I'd never even noticed the featured member section before. Oops. I guess I feel a little undeserving. Regardless, that was a nice thing to wake up to and now I feel like I ought to add more reviews!

So let me take this moment to ask if any of you dear readers have a Pattern Review account. If so leave me your link! I want to check out other reviewers. Maybe it will even motivate me to participate more on the site? At the very least it will give me a chance to be inspired by your creations. ;)

September 20, 2011

Pink Flounce Top - Simplicity 2554

Simplicity 2554 crazy flounce

This is another version of my "what was I thinking" face.

If I was Jack Donaghy and this shirt was Liz Lemon I'd have to say "Good God, Lemon!" (I've been watching a lot of 30 Rock lately).

Simplicity 2554

Excuse me if this is a more philosophical post rather than technical sewing post.

This top is not working. Sure, it's not terrible and it is certainly comfortable. There's nothing wrong with it per-se but I'm just not digging the style.


I saw this pattern in the store and liked the look of the flounce sleeve effect of this shirt (and no, I did not purposefully try to make an exact copy of the top in the photo, I just happened to have a lot of this pink jersey in my stash). However, in real life I find these flutters just plain annoying. I mean really. What am I supposed to do with these things? They never lay - I don't know, what's the word? Normal? Flattering? Un-blob like?

Simplicity 2554 crazy flounce x3

Maybe it is because the flounces are set so close together? Perhaps if they were set more off to the side I'd like it more? Who knows?

So since I've decided I don't like this top I will probably send it to Goodwill and chalk this one up to experience and learning - more experience sewing knits and learning what I don't like.

Simplicity 2554

By now I'm at a skill level that I don't dislike my creations because they don't fit or they have some structural problem. Instead I'm facing the fact that sometimes things aren't my style - like this shirt design. With sewing you don't have the luxury of trying on something ahead of time to decide if you like it. And lately I've bought and sewn patterns that I look good in theory and are disappointing as a finished product.

Does anyone else have this problem? It can be an expensive one and one that I'm determined to learn sooner rather than later because I want a wardrobe that reflects my personal style - a style that I haven't quite defined as of yet...

Simplicity 2554


So here's the question - How has sewing helped you develop your style? Were you interested in fashion before you started sewing? I never was, now I find myself oogling over NY Fashion Week runway photos. How would you define you personal style and how is that reflected by what you sew? Do you feel like you are proficient enough to sew clothes that reflect your style or are you still learning?

September 18, 2011

Swiss Dot Sheer Blouse - Simplicity 2610

Swiss Dot Sheer Blouse

I bought this Swiss dot fabric online because it was cheap and I was determined to reach the minimum purchase amount to get free shipping. So I didn't know it was going to be this sheer but I made it work!

Swiss Dot Sheer Blouse

A couple things I don't like about this pattern - as with the last time I made this pattern, the bottom button likes to come undone. This might have something to do with the fact that my underlap doesn't extend all the way down to that last button. Whenever I tried to line up the underlap it was always slightly too short to cover all the button loops. Maybe I sewed it wrong, who knows? Next time I'll probably add stiffer interfacing to the waist area, as well.

Swiss Dot Sheer Blouse

The buttons are raided from my stash - clear plastic circles cut to reflect the light like crystals.

Swiss Dot Sheer Blouse

Do you like seeing inside photos? I think some people really love the inner workings of a project so I thought I'd show it this time.

Swiss Dot Sheer Blouse

I made a half-*ssed attempt at french seams on the sides and shoulder (which was hard to do because the raw edges were fraying shedding so badly) and serged most everything else. The collar and waist called for interfacing, but I didn't want the interfacing visible through the sheer fabric, so I layered Swiss dot over plain white fabric over sew in interfacing over plain white over a final layer of Swiss dot. Phew! That's thick!

Swiss Dot Sheer Blouse

I made this top once before but I much prefer the sleeves on this version and I like the collar, too. I think this shirt is much more my style than the other one but  next time I'll wear it with white cami underneath rather than gray.

Swiss Dot Sheer Blouse

September 15, 2011

The Refashioners Part II

Coming soon...

My second shirt design for The Refashioners is up! Hop over to Portia's blog to take a look and you can even download the free pattern PDF version of the shirt I made!

September 13, 2011

Plaid Built By Wendy Top - Simplicity 4111

Plaid Built By Wendy Top

This is another version of Simplicity 4111 that I made a long time ago, this time in plaid. I like this one better than the last try but I'm not sure why. I didn't change the pattern. Maybe it's because the elastic under the bust line isn't as tight? Maybe it's the thicker fabric? Maybe I secretly have a yearning for plaid in my life? Who knows.

Anyway, this shirt was in the mending pile for years because the elastic in one of the sleeves broke. I even remember the party I was at a couple years ago when it happened. Putting something in my mending pile is like burying it deep in an underwater cave in the Bermuda Triangle never to be seen again.

Plaid Built By Wendy Top

I'm glad I could finally break this shirt out from hiding and finish those minor fixes. Now it is happily back in my closet for rotation.

What's the longest you've ever had something sit in the "mending pile"?

September 12, 2011

The Refashioners


Guess what!? I was lucky enough to be invited by the lovely Miss P to take part in "The Refashioners" (don't you love that logo? so fun!).

About a month ago I, along with a group of awesome sewing bloggers, received a surprise package in the mail. Portia sent us all thrifted items of clothing and asked us all to re-fashion what we had into something new, stylish and wearable.

The Refashioners Part 1

What I loved about making this shirt was that I felt as though I had made a completely new garment but because I kept part of the original design, it didn't take me nearly as long to make as creating something from scratch. I saved time and headaches by focusing on parts of a design that really interested me while the boring parts like making buttonholes and adding interfacing was already done for me. Perfect for the lazy sewer! ;)

I was lucky to have enough fabric in my surprise outfit to make two projects! The first one is up today on Portia's blog. Go check it out! The next one will come later and will include a free pattern to download!! And in the next coming days she will be posting projects from other bloggers including Zoe from So Zo..., Casey's Elegant Musings, Tilly and the Buttons, and Karen from Did You Make That?

Exciting!!! I can't wait to see what everyone else made!

September 10, 2011

The Accidental Crop Top

Accidental Crop Top

Apparently, when life gives you lemons you search the internet for appropriate ways to wear a crop top that doesn't make you look like you just stepped out of Clueless. Which is what I did to convince myself that this shirt could be saved. (Seriously, how annoying is this girl??)

I haven't worn a crop top since the mid 90s when I was still in elementary school (and back then shirts in general were shorter so this shirt would probably have been considered a regular top). But even when you think something is woefully out of date - wham! it comes back with a vengeance.

Which is lucky for me because otherwise this former UFO might have hit the toss pile.

Originally I planned for this fabric to be a normal tank top (with a fancy exposed zipper that was all the rage about 2 years ago when I started, are exposed zips still in style?) but then quickly realized I didn't buy enough fabric.

So then I thought I'd latch on to another hot trend a-la 2009 - the thick elastic waist dress! You know, the kind where the fabric is stitched to a wide band of (usually) black elastic and commonly combined with different colored skirts and tops. Yeah, you remember that. I bet you even still have one.

Accidental Crop Top

I bought some red fabric for the skirt but when trying to attach everything to my elastic all hell broke loose and resulted in a zig zag stitch that resembled a Richter scale graph after a major earthquake and its subsequent aftershocks. It was a hot mess of crazy. (I wish saying "hot mess" was still in style...)

I scratched that idea.

And then it hit me - crop top! Now, I know you want to say it's not that short of a crop top but don't steal my thunder! Sure, it's slightly too long to wear with a high waist skirt (then it just looks like I should have tucked it in, which I could do) but with normal jeans I'm almost on trend! If it was any shorter than this I'd probably feel like an awkward hipster at an overpriced summer music festival. Even as it is I feel a little awkward in this style, hence the small amount of photos.

Granted I doubt this trend will last through to next year at least I have plenty more months of Texas heat to rock the crop before the 90s calls and demands it's fashion back. And if I had to indulge in a trendy piece of clothing I'm glad it could result from an otherwise unwanted sewing project.

September 5, 2011

Forest Green Knit Dress

Forest Green Knit Dress

This little green dress was a long time comin'. I began this project way back in April and it was plagued with problems from the start. I admit that all those problems were human error and could have been avoided.

I wanted to create a self drafted easy to wear knit dress with pleats at on the skirt, flutter sleeves and an exposed zipper in back.

Forest Green Knit Dress

The fabric is a deep green interlock. I think forest green is going to be one of my favorite colors this fall, I want to incorporate it into future projects for sure. I prefer interlock or double knit when it comes to dresses more than jersey because I think you need a more weighty fabric on the lower half of your body.


Forest Green Knit Dress

I won't go into the details about what went wrong with this dress (too much!) but as you can see, there's no flutter sleeves or back zip. Plus, after hacking so much at the waistline and serging and re-serging the seam, the waist is a little too warped to wear without a belt (oops!).

Forest Green Knit Dress

But besides that little flaw I did achieve the original goal - a comfy, simple, slip on dress that I wear anywhere. If only it didn't take me months of trial and error to get it to work!


Forest Green Knit Dress

This whole week I have been motivated to pick up those old UFOs again. Sometimes a rest is just what you need to gain new perspective on an old unfinished project. In addition to this dress I've fixed the elastic in an old shirt, re-applied some bias binding on a homemade skirt and finished another UFO shirt. I'm on a roll!

September 2, 2011

Craziest Fabric Ever

Candy Party Cutie World Shirt

What's the weirdest fabric you've ever sewn? I think for me - this fabric takes the cake! It's craziness is irresistible and makes me laugh every time I see it.

Candy Party Cutie World Shirt

Its official name is Candy Party Cutie World (not kidding!) and it is very very Japanese. There's flowers, doilies, deer, butterflies, birds and most importantly, kittens! It's like a little girl vomited her wildest dreams all over a piece of cloth!

Candy Party Cutie World Shirt

I bought the fabric from a local indie fabric shop in town and and paid a little more than I normally would for fabric but I couldn't resist.

I don't know how often I'd wear this shirt. Maybe to a fun party where I could talk about this crazy shirt instead of having random strangers stare at me and think I'm insane. Ha!

Candy Party Cutie World Shirt

The pattern in version D of McCall's M5388 except without the elastic sleeves. I've made this pattern once before except with a shorter hem and longer sleeves. I made a muslin for this because my first version didn't fit as well as I would have liked. If there's a change I'd recommend for this pattern is that the arm holes are a little snug. I'd like more movement in that area but it's still totally wearable.

Candy Party Cutie World Shirt

This shirt was fun to make and it makes me smile every time I look at it. When it gets cool again and I can wear a jacket around I'll probably be more inclined to wear this shirt without exposing so many kittens and doilies!

September 1, 2011

Could it be???

A skinny jeans pattern that might work?!


This new jeans and trousers pattern (Butterick B5682) looks pretty versitile. And the Slim Ankle version is particularly interesting. I've been on the lookout for a good skinny jeans pattern for who knows how long.

Most patterns feature more plain straight leg or boot cut and these days I'm gravitating towards the extremes in pant designs - either skinny or wide. This pattern has a total of 5 designs, including a somewhat wide leg trouser style although I wish the waistband was a little higher.

I know some of you out there have also been looking for a good skinny jeans pattern. This one might be the ticket.

Let me know if you've tried the pattern. I'm definitely going to buy a copy and maybe make some gray jeans for fall. (Oh, how I wish fall was here. I'm tired of being stuck indoors because it is so hot outside!)