Saturday, September 20, 2014

New Bedroom

So, one of the reasons I haven't posted much over the summer is that I have been getting ready for graduate school.I'm the kind of person who hates doing something big under a tight time constraint. So I pretty much spent 2 months of this summer organizing my stuff and getting packed up.
One of the cool things about this, however, is that I am returning to the blog with a new room to show you!

My wonderful mom drove 6 hours across the state with me to help me move in, clean, and paint. We ended up dividing the work up so that she painted while I cleaned, since we only had a day and a half until she needed to return home.
I had already decided on a color scheme, red and aqua, while I was back home, in part because my bedroom all through high school included red as one of the main colors. So I was able to re-use quite a bit of stuff. Some things that I hadn't seen in years seemed brand new when I took them out and paired them with a few newer items. And, luckily, my landlords were OK with me painting my bedroom, so I was able to update the look by adding a new complimentary color in aqua.
Without further ado are some pictures!
The view in from my bedroom door.
I already had the red gingham and cherry pillow-shams. I sewed up some additional pillowcases to tie everything together. The two red-and-aqua larger squares are coordinating quilting cottons from Jo Anns, and I was very proud of the way I inserted the zippers. Really, they are my best looking zippers to date. The white flour-sack look smaller squares (you can see on center front) are from some Ikea dish towels. At 75c each towel, I was able to create something that is a very current look for very little money.
I love my little needle felted mushrooms, to the far left, they were previously a gift from my mom. The little flocked deer were Christmas ornaments I found at the Antique Mall in Bellingham.
I found the metal wheeled-kitchen cart at the same antique mall, for a ridiculously low price. I think it was $12, which is a steal since those mid-century enameled carts are a popular item right now. It was originally a light yellow, but it was spray painted red to match the rest of the decor.

View of the closets
I hung some semi-sheer curtains over the closet openings, since there weren't any doors. They are nice big closets, but that isn't what I want people to notice when they walk into the room. Between the two closets is an ad for Jello from the 1950s (I think.)
Here's a close-up of that Jello ad. I think it's pretty cute.

Here is a better view of the handkerchief banner I just put up today. It consists of vintage hankies attached to white bias tape with some mini clothes-pins.

I repainted the ca 1960's dresser in cream, and spray painted some ceramic knobs in aqua. I brought my record player, since it's such a nice color. The record holder was found at Goodwill. You might notice that the tote-bag hanging on the dresser and the paper lantern in the corner are in a matching pattern. I purchased them both from Blue-Q online.

Here is my desk/ vanity. I sewed the seat cushion from another Jo Anns quilting fabric. The desk is actually a vanity that I removed the mirror from, because I didn't like how it looked with the mirror. I made the jewelry hanger from an old cupboard door and some white-coated cup-hooks. You can also see a couple of my sewing supplies and a recent issue of Mollie Makes.

A close-up of a little file cabinet that was spray painted aqua. The top drawer has my hairdryer and straightener in it. The bottom drawer is for more sewing supplies. Right now I am storing my backpack and a little red-leather valet for my keys etc. on top.

So that's my new room! I think it looks pretty great now, but I still have some art I would like to put up on the walls soon.
Until next time!

Monday, June 9, 2014

New Sewing Room

I have been pretty busy for the past month+ with school, work, and getting my room re-organized to facilitate all of my sewing and crafting supplies. I have finally finished up moving, cleaning, and organizing everything... almost. There are still a couple of finishing touches like hanging a shelf on the wall over my sewing table, but I finally have a functional work area again. Which means I can show you some pictures of my sewing/ sitting- room. I also took some pictures of my bedroom, since it is adjoined to the sewing/ sitting- room.
So get ready for some pictures. I still haven't figured out the best way to create photo collages on my chrome-book, so I will have to list them one-by-one:

Here is my sewing table, with my machine in its case.  The drawers house my most frequently used supplies, the manual, and notions. To the left is the door into my rooms from the main part of the basement. I put a hook in the back of the door to hang my cutting mat and french-curve ruler. To the right is a nice large filing cabinet I use for storing my fabric stash. This is a great way to organize your fabrics because you can organize based on weight and color. For example, all of my heavy wool fabrics are in the bottom while light weight fabrics such as chiffon are in the top shelf. It also allows you to organize each drawer visually by color, pattern, and texture. This means you can see all of your fabrics at once. The shape and size of the drawers means you can organize the folds standing upright and pull fabrics out without having to dig to the bottom of a pile. This is great because my fabric pretty much filled up a small closet in my old sewing room. Also, since the file cabinet is metal, I was able to use some magnetic spice storage containers for storing remnants of cord and ribbon. I also super glued magnets on to the backs of some thread organizer racks for all of my thread and bobbins.

I need to get some kind of hanger for my ironing board to mount on the wall behind my door. For now it is leaning against the wall. The hutch holds all of my paper crafting supplies, sewing patterns, sewing and craft books, fabric scraps/ remnants, button collection, and office supplies. I had some fun with decorating the top of the hutch. I also keep all of my Mollie Makes magazines and my radio on the hutch!

Here is the view from the door into my sewing room from the basement. I also use it as a sitting room to read, do homework, and relax. You can see the spice containers and thread racks on the side of the filing cabinet in the left side of the picture. Next to the couch, I store my books, movies, and magazines in an antique lawyer cabinet. You can also just see into my bedroom through the french-door.

Here is a better view of the transition from my sewing room in to my bedroom. 

Here you are looking in from the doorway between the sewing room and bedroom. I love to blend looks from different time periods in decorating. Such as my antique brass bed and a more modern color scheme in the bedding. The shelf on the back wall displays a collection of Northwest beach themed items, many found on family vacations over the years. I also like to use the theme of  vintage-travel in my decor, because I think it is a great way to blend different looks and items.

My vanity is both pretty and practical. Living in an old house with just one bathroom, it is essential to have a personal space for grooming and storing toiletries. You may also have noticed that I have many poster prints on my walls. Poster prints with a color scheme relevant to the rest of the room are an inexpensive way to make a space look really cohesive.

This little cupboard was just the right size to fit in between my two closet doors. The tray on top displays my perfumes. Inside I store some of my bulkier cosmetic and toilette items.

This  armoire stores my handbags, scarves, and other fashion accessories, in addition to things like phone chargers and luggage. 

Once again, this dresser is a piece that fit perfectly in the space I wanted to place it. On top of the dresser are my record player and records. Above is my collection of vintage and vintage-inspired hats. On the wall to the right is a promotional poster  of Pacific Northwest Ballet's Sleeping Beauty ca. 2010. I love to go to the the ballet, and promo-posters are both a wonderful souvenir and decorative object. You may also have noticed my poster from PNB's Giselle ca. 2011 in my sewing room on the common wall to my bedroom.

So that quickly turned into a "home-tour." 
Do you have a special place where you can get creative?
What are some of your tips for staying organized while you sew?

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Prophecy Fulfilled

The stars have aligned. The universe is in opposition to me completing a project to submit for the Sew For Victory challenge. Or so it seems to me.
I began this past weekend determined to complete my Sew For Victory dress in time to wear to church and brunch on Easter. Unfortunately, things did not work out that way.
I worked for about 5 hours on Saturday, grading the pattern up to my waist measurement. I drew largely from this post on pattern grading at Casey's Elegant Musings. I was very careful as I expanded at two vertical points on each of the front
However, as I was pressed for time I graded directly on to my fabric. This seemed to work out just fine as I used my French-curve ruler to connect the gaps and maintain the garment shaping. Then I moved on to sewing and pressing in the darts, and attaching the front and back pieces. At this point I tried on the bodice, just to make sure it fit.
It. Was. Awful.
The bodice fit just fine at the waist. However it was massive from the bust up. At the shoulders it looked like I was swimming in an ugly chef's jacket.
I realized my mistake. I am probably one of the most severely pear shaped women around. Across the board, whether off-the-rack or pattern sizing, my proportions are such that if I buy/ make something to fit in the waist, it will not fit at all in the bust, and vice-versa.
I did not know how to integrate grading a pattern up at the waist then down at the bust. And frankly, at 5:48pm Saturday night, with my fabric already cut, I didn't see any way to remedy the issue at this point.
So, I knew I had to admit defeat. I would not be wearing a new me-made dress for Easter.
Furthermore, I am moving all of my sewing and crafting materials out of the spare room in our basement this week in order to accommodate for my brother to move home. Meaning I will not have the time or space to figure out a solution and move forward before the 30th, when submissions are due. At least all of my things are looking kind of cute as I move them in to my room. I have a "bedroom suite"  of a bedroom and small parlor in the basement across from the spare room. So my parlor will now serve the dual purpose of a sewing room as well.
I did have a nice Easter, spending some time with my family, in spite of my grading fiasco.
My little sister looked very nice in the dress I made her for the Mad Men challenge. Of course I forgot to take a picture, but she told me that all of her friends at church were asking her where she got her dress. So I temporarily felt a little bit better about my sewing skills again.

Do you have any tips on fitting a bodice for a pronounced pear-shape figure?
Have you ever experienced the trails of botched fitting?
Do share...

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Spring, Spring, Spring!

I'm not sure how many will get the post title reference to the song in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,  but it is finally spring in Washington. Which means one or two days of sunshine, followed by at least a week straight of rain and cloudy skies. Like most people who have lived through many a Northwest Winter, Spring still feels like a change in 4 ways:
1. The sun is setting closer to 8 pm than 4 pm, and rising by 6 am instead of 8:30 am. The extended hours of daylight, even when filtered by clouds and rain, are having a positive effect on my sleep cycle.
2. The local flora and fauna are blooming and making themselves busy with life. Many of us are enjoying flowers and planting vegetables.
3. The temperatures are rising ever so slightly. The difference between a high 30's and low 50's average might sound like very little to people from warmer climes. For us it means there is no risk of overnight frost or (knock on wood) snow. Additionally, rain is a lot easier to bear when its 48* as it falls instead of 34*. That's the difference between a bulky winter coat and a light, hooded jacket. which brings me to the fourth way Spring changes things in the Northwest.
4. Fashion. Okay, okay. So everything you've heard about the Northwest being a very casual and somewhat homogeneous fashion setting is pretty much true.Yes, it seems that we are an eternal sea of jeans, flannel, fleece zip-ups, Hunter boots and Chuck Taylors as gray-green and enshrouding as the waters of the Puget Sound. However, you do tend to see more bright spots/ variance in the warmer months.

This week I visited the Tulip Festival in Skagit County with my mom and youngest sister. I usually go every other year. We enjoyed lunch in La Conner, then visited some formal gardens and the tulip fields. We were lucky to have some nice sunny weather.
I'm looking forward to Easter this Sunday. Obviously it is the most important observance and foundational aspect of my faith to remember celebrate each year. In addition, I always feel that while the scientific beginning of spring is the equinox on March 20th, the cultural beginning of spring is Easter. Mostly because I believe that this is a day when we come together, regardless of religious affiliation, and celebrate the season.We acknowledge the symbols of youth, new life, and rebirth in eggs, bunnies, flowers and the like, celebrating their simultaneous beauty and brevity. I feel that we as a culture have lost touch with these kinds of communal traditions as we have transitioned from agriculture and manufacturing to an economy entirely based on the consumption of goods for which we take no part in the process of production. The few chances we have to celebrate as a community, while they have become increasingly commercialized, are important to maintain and hopefully to re-appropriate.

Click icon to follow link to Lucky Lucille.
I have of course waited until the last minute to get anything started for the Sew for Victory challenge at Lucky Lucille. And I was hoping to get something done in time to wear to church and brunch on Easter Sunday. As a result I have decided I will make a dress instead of the blouse and two skirts I had planned. I am still going to use Simplicity 1590, which is a 1940's reprint, for the bodice. Instead of the peplum indicated on the blouse design, I will attach a simple 1940's style dirndl skirt.
I'm aiming for something like this:
The collar on this dress is a great detail. The cap-sleeve of the dress on the left is very similar to Simplicity 1590. 

The blue floral pattern of the dress on the left reminded me of the fabric I am using.

I love the flutter sleeve on the dress on the left. I don't want to take the time to figure out how to add this in but will keep it in mind for future projects. I feel like the shape of the skirt in this drawing is closest to what I will be doing. I also like the self belt on all three of these pattern drawings, but I am not sure I will be able to find the materials for making a fabric belt in time.

So I have three days to make that dress before Easter, if I'm going to be able to wear it for that. Hopefully I will be able to get it done on time. 
Is anyone else wearing handmade for Easter? Comment and link if so.

Friday, March 28, 2014

The Cool Lilly: Mad Men Challenge 3 Dress

I know everyone has been waiting patiently to see all of the Mad Men inspired fashions generated by Julia's Mad Men Challenge 3, like I have. So here it is, with as much fanfare and pomp as can be expected of  me at this time (only a little)... My submission for Mad Men Challenge 3: The Cool Lilly.

I've named this dress The Cool Lilly because it was inspired by the famous Lilly Pulitzer shift dresses which became so popular during the 1960s. The dress I made is a simple, 60s style shift dress in a bold print. However unlike the famous Lilly, which takes its own inspiration from the warm tones of citrus fruits and juices, my fabric is in a cool colorway of light blues and greens. Hence The Cool Lilly.

I actually didn't have a specific Mad Men look that I took inspiration from, but this is definitely a look which is iconic to that era. I always associate Jackie Kennedy and country clubs with this look. Coincidentally, Lilly Pulitzer and Jaqueline Kennedy, née Bouvier, were schoolmates.

Jackie Kennedy wearing a Lilly Pulitzer dress in Palm Beach

Lilly Pulitzer at one of  her shops 1962.
Still of Betty wearing a large-scale-floral shift dress, Mad Men.

For the dress I used Simplicity 1609. It is a reprint of a 1960s Jiffy pattern. The construction was pretty easy, and I probably spent a total of 5 hours across a couple days including ironing, cutting, and construction. This was my first time to do facings on a sleeveless dress, and I really like how it looks. The fabric I used was a decor weight cotton woven, so it was perfect for a pattern that used facings instead of a lining.
I eliminated the center front seam, instead cutting it on the fold, because I didn't want to interrupt the print. I didn't remember to subtract the seam allowance, so there was a little extra fabric in the neckline and I had to do some light gathers to make up for it. I actually think its a nice effect.
I ended up having my friend Hanna model it for me at work. I had made the dress for my little sister, but she is out of town until Sunday for her spring break.--Oh, children, still having an actual spring break with no obligations. You know not the value of such things.-- So Hanna graciously agreed to try on this dress and pose for a couple pictures. Thank you Hanna!

So that's it. I cant wait to see the reveal of everyone else's dresses/ outfits on JuliaBobbin next week!

Julia Bobbin - Mad Men Challenge III

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Update on Mad Men Challenge

Just checking in on to show my progress on the sewing challenge.
I will do a more detailed post once I have finished the zipper and hem, as well as post some pictures of my sister modeling it.
I will say that my brother was over when I had Molly try on the dress, and he didn't even know why I was making the dress. The first thing he said was "That looks like a Mad Men dress. Like a 60's dress."
Then I had to explain the reason I was making the dress :)
So here is a picture of the dress so far!

Friday, March 21, 2014

Sew For Victory Sewing Challenge

It looks like I am going to spend a chunk of my spring break sewing for a couple of blog challenges. I have previously posted about the dress I am making my sister for the Mad Men Challenge at Julia Bobbin.
Now I am considering participating in Sew for Victory over at Lucky Lucille. I initially found out about this sewing challenge last year a couple days before it ended, and I was pretty sad that I didn't get to participate.
So this year when I saw the initial posting about a second round of Sew for Victory, I was excited at the prospect of participating.
I decided that in the spirit of the "Make Do and Mend" spirit of a 1940's sew along, I would try and use fabric and patterns existing in my stash, and try not to buy anything new for this project, apart from a couple notions if necessary.
I have already narrowed it down to some separates, with a 1940s Simplicity blouse pattern as the center.
This blouse features cap sleeves (hooray for me, sleeves I won't have to be afraid of), a button front, and a peplum. I have decided to do view A, with the scoop neckline to save a little time and in anticipation of warmer weather. 
I am also planning on making a pencil skirt to go with the blouse. Although I don't have a vintage pattern for this, I still think that a pencil skirt is an iconically 40's silhoutte, especially when paired with a tailored jacket or blouse with a peplum. I have a couple of different pencil skirt patterns in my collection:
Simplicity 1541 has princess seaming on the front and two panels on the back with a centered vent. I'm really not sure how historically accurate the shaped seaming on the front would be. However, I think that the princess seams are potentially flattering, which would probably make me more likely to wear it as a non-vintage item as well.
This McCalls skirt pattern features multiple lengths. It is also the most simple design with a single panel front and two panel back with centered vent. It also has no waistband. I have made this skirt before and having no waistband definitely speeds up the process. That being said, I usually prefer to wear garments with a defined waistband, mostly for comfort but also for the appearance.
Simplicity 2475 has 3 panels in the front and back as well as 2 back kick-pleats. The cover photo shows the skirt worn pretty low on the waist, almost at the hip, which would not be authentic. However, a quick image search showed that it can be worn closer to the natural waist.
I think I am trying to decide between the two Simplicity patterns for the pencil skirt.
Finally, I am thinking of making a simple dirndl/ gathered skirt in the same fabric as the blouse in order to wear them together for the look of a dress. This wouldn't require a pattern, and I have reviewed multiple tutorials for making a gathered skirt to make sure I will be able to do it.
As for fabrics:
For the blouse and matching gathered skirt I am thinking of using some Ralph Lauren sheets that my mom bought ages ago. The pattern is a light blue background with pink and yellow roses. It reminded me of a print that would have been used in a 1940's tea dress.Plus, how 40s is it to re-purpose textiles for another use?
This is the same pattern, but the background in this image is reading as more green than blue.

For the pencil skirt I have some navy blue ponte du roma that I think would work great. It would make the skirt practical for fall, winter, and spring... and much of summer in Washington really :)
Does anyone else have some spring projects they are getting started on?