Thursday, December 20, 2012

Wednesday wishes (on Thursday!)

Darling Ranges dress sewing pattern
Sorry about the belated wishes, I didn't want to inundate your inboxes with posts on one day, and I really wanted to share my thoughts on The Colette Sewing Handbook.  So that leaves us with belated Wednesday issues!  Without further adeiu:

The Bourgeois Dress from Anthropologie.  If you know me, you know that I am a bit obsessed with Anthropologie.  I love pretty much everything they have.  Anyway...From far away, this dress is pretty.  On closer inspection, you can see that the silk is printed with beautiful dancing ballerinas.  At $300, it's not an investment I will be making soon, but it is so beautiful!  If only I could find some ballerina silk so I could make one...

This beautiful fabric is from Tuppence Ha'penny's Spoonflower shop.  I'm just smitten with this fabric! I think the pink would make a great blouse and the blue would be beautiful for a dress...What's that? You don't know about Spoonflower?  Well, neither did I! A couple of weeks ago, I discovered it, and I've been a bit obsessed ever since.  Spoonflower is a wonderful website that allows you to upload images and create your own fabric.  You can also shop the stores of other designers and fabric enthusiasts.  Spoonflower also solves the age-old problem of "I would love a dress in this print, but it's the wrong material."  Each print is available in multiple fabrics, and you get to choose which one you want.  It's a bit like your fairy godmother just read your mind and delivered the results to your door!
Darling Ranges dress sewing pattern
PDF Sewing pattern - Peplum top

This beauty is the peplum top from Salme Patterns.  Isn't it darling?  The simple, chic silhouette is instantly flattering on any figure.  Salme is an independent pattern company based out of London that offers PDF patterns that you can print at home.  With great designs and instant prints, you should definitely check out the whole collection!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Book review: The Colette Sewing Handbook


I feel like I'm the last person in the world to do so, but I finally bought my own copy of the Colette Sewing Handbook.  I just couldn't resist the Pastille dress any longer, and figured adding to my collection couldn't hurt!

The Patterns:
There are five gorgeous patterns included in this book:
  • The Pastille (shown above), a simple dress that is great for everyday work wear
  • The Meringue, a cute skirt with a scalloped hem
  • The Taffy, a dress-up or-dress down basic blouse with the cutest sleeves
  • The Licorice, a looser dress with a sash
  • The Truffle, an a-line sheath with a pretty, flowing ruffle across the skirt
The instructions, in true Colette Patterns style, are very clear with lots of pictures and tips.  The book follows in that vein, it takes you step-by-step through making a muslin, altering a pattern, picking out fabric, and choosing thread.  The book is a great overview for new sewists, and a great reference for those that are a bit more knowledgeable.



What I liked best:
Oh, what's not to like about this book?  The photography is beautiful, the patterns are classic, and the chapters are informative and interesting!  If I have to pick, I'll say that I like the section on alterations the best.  Most general sewing books don't go far into the realm of alterations.  This book, however, has pages and pages dedicated to the different types of fitting issues one may have with a pattern, and how to correct them.  The book goes through many types of alterations and shows exactly how to change the pattern: what to cut, what to expand, and why.  As a girl with fitting issues in everything I make, I truly appreciated this section.  It will be a great reference tool for future endeavors!

Should you buy it, too?
Absolutely! I put of buying this book for too long.  I was on the fence because I already have so many crafting and sewing books, and I didn't think I needed another.  I am so glad that I added this beautiful, informative book to my collection.  You will be, too!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Wednesday wishes

Because once a year is just not enoough, every Wednesday, I'll me sharing a few of the things that I'm wishing I had at the moment: sewing stuff, pretty fabric, and generally amazing things!

Ohhh Lulu The Ginger Body Suit and Separates PDF Sewing Pattern
Isn't this just divine? If you've never had a look at Ohhh LuLu's amazing Etsy shop before, I've just made your day.  I first discovered Ohhh LuLu a few months ago, and have been a bit obsessed ever since.  She makes the cutest vintage-inspired lingerie and patterns if you'd like to make your own.  Right now, I'm lusting over the ginger set (above), but I'm just not sure that I have the technical skills for swimsuit/lingerie making.  If you do, though, check out her store, it's just gorgeous.  I'm tempted to buy and give it a try--I'll let you know how it goes if I do!  There's also a sew-a-long, which is definitely helpful! If you're like me, she also sells pre-made lingerie, which is equally drool-worthy.

Pinned Image

Such a cute dress! If you're interested in seeing a completed (and completely beautiful) version, check out Karen's post at Did You Make That?  She made a lovely teal version that is truly envious!  In my opinion, it's much cuter than the version on the envelope front.

Keep the mess off the counter!
Honestly, this is just the greatest thing I've seen all week.  No mess, no stain on the counter, and no spoon touching the gross counter top.  Genius!


If you're like me, you were probably going crazy when you found out that Amy Butler was making a magazine called Blossom, and that it is FREE!  In the first issue, she shows this gorgeous bag in her cameo fabric.  I immediately fell in love, and I can't wait to make one.  If you'd like to make one, too, the free pattern is available here, courtesy of u-handbag (another great source of patterns if you're interested in making bags). 

Milly The Mermaid Doll Pattern

This mermaid doll is right up my alley.  It's I don't have kids, but you'd better believe I'm going to find some to make this for!  Or, maybe I could just make one for my cat...  Anyway, if you're as in love with Milly the mermaid as I am, you can find the pattern for her on mer mag's etsy shop.  Mer mag's blog is also a great source for tutorials and project ideas! Check her out!

If you have any of these things, and would like to share your finished projects, leave me a comment or send me an e-mail, I'd love to see them!

Monday, December 10, 2012

A Pretty Peony

I have the hardest time sewing things for cool weather. Here in NY, it's a balmy 40 degrees out, yet I still want to sew sundresses! This was my attempt at something somewhat weather appropriate! Hey, at least it has sleeves!

Pattern Description: A sheath dress with a bateau neck and gathering in the front.

Pattern Sizing: I got a little crafty here.  I've had some problems with fitting Colette patterns in the past, so I knew to go smaller than I normally would.  For reference, I am 5'0 with a 38in. bust, 28in. waist, and 35in. hips.  I cut a size 4 for the bodice front, a size 2 in the bodice back, and and size 0 in the skirt.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes

Were the instructions easy to follow? Absolutely! One of the best things about Colette Patterns are the clear instructions. 

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love the gathering in the front and the options for different sleeve lengths.  The gathering is very flattering, and the sleeves make it wearable in all seasons!

Fabric Used: 2 yards of gorgeous Liberty of London cotton.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I cut the bodice in multiple sizes to accommodate my large bust and small back.  I also made a back of neck adjustment to fix gaping at the back of the neck.  There is a great tutorial for this here if you are interested.  I also moved the under bust darts 1 inch toward the outside, and shortened all darts to 3in.  I skipped the belt, and used one I already had.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? Yes and yes! I love this pattern so much, I can't wait to make more!

Conclusion: Love it! Colette patterns are definitely some of my favorites. The instructions are clear, the patterns are printed beautifully, and the styles are perfect for me: stylish with a touch of vintage flair. Overall, I think this dress came together beautifully. It has clean, simple lines that really let the fabric stand out.  It will definitely get a lot of wear!

Kitty wanted to show off too :)
One with the belt

Thursday, December 6, 2012

My Sanctuary

Like many of you, I think I started making things right about the time I started walking.  I started with beads, glitter, DIY kits on nail art, finger paint, and sparkly bobby pins.  When I was in the 4th grade, I learned how to knit.  I made a lot of scarves, but not much else. In the sixth grade, I got my first sewing machine (a good friend that, sadly, went out of commission a couple of weeks ago) and made doll clothes and hemmed my pants when they were too long.  As I got older, I picked up other crafts: painting, jewelry-making, and crochet to name a few.  I never met a craft that I didn't like, and I wouldn't say I'm an expert at any of them. But, I love them all for what they give me--a challenge, some quiet, and a lot a calm.  Knitting and sewing will always have a special place in my heart, and they always make me happy.  After many years of making scarves and sewing curtains, I finally took the plunge about six months and started sewing and knitting clothing.  As a complete novice, it's been both a challenge and an addiction, but I do my best not to get too frustrated when things don't go as planned.  I've learned a lot from other bloggers, and been inspired to keep going because of them.  I've realized that we all have to start somewhere, and that we all have something that someone else can learn from, I know I've learned so much from other bloggers about what works, what doesn't, and what will be fun to try.  I hope, maybe, someone out there will be inspired by my journey, too, and keep making things because they love to.  If I can do it, anyone can!  I'll be posting tutorials, pattern reviews, not-so-beautiful creations (and hopefully some beautiful ones!), and general musings about my crafty world.

My craft room is my sanctuary; it help keep me sane.  Pull up a chair (or just sit on the floor), and join in the fun!