Archive for June, 2008


Something sexy

I’ve been asked to make a corset (FUN!). We’re planning on a strapless corset for a fairly full figured gal, so it really needs to fit just like a glove in order to provide enough support.  And that means… a muslin!  Modeled here by my dress form is the first version.  Right off the bat, it’s too loose overall but not roomy enough in the lower back/ booty, and she’d like it a little longer in the front to hit at a more flattering point.  I’m reworking the pattern to adjust for these issues and we’ll try it again.

I’ll try to post a little pic of our design plan for it soon.  In the meantime here’s a picture of the first muslin.


Where style and a lack of pain meet

This summer’s swimsuit came courtesy of Target for a nice affordable price and minimal time and effort devoted to finding it.  It’s a one piece suit with a little skirt at the bottom and came with a halter tie at the top.  It was cheap and about as flattering as I can hope to expect from off the rack spandex.  🙂

BUT it was uncomfortable.  Halter tie swimsuits are a bit of torture for me, since they demand that the entire weight of my bosom hang precariously from strands knotted right at the nape of my neck.  The weight pressing on that tiny spot almost always leads to headaches.  Especially when you add the almost inevitable ingredients of glaring sunshine, chlorine fumes, and possibly dehydration.

Rather than accept a summertime of headaches by the pool, I decided to take a hint from Eva’s swimsuit and convert the halter tie to a criss cross style strap.  This way, the weight is distributed over my shoulders (which are better designed to carry weight than my neck is!) and as a bonus it keeps the elastic at the back of my suit from scrunching down.  DH helped me mark the suit where I wanted to attach the straps, and then it took just a few minutes to stitch them down.

We’ve gone to the pool a couple of times since I made this easy alteration and I’m happy to say I’m headache free and my suit has stayed securely in place.  I don’t care if it’s a more juvenile style, this is a better approach for us big busted gals and I will likely do this again in the future.

Happy sewing – and swimming – to you all!


Artsy Baby

 My two and a half year old daughter drew this a couple of days ago, and delightedly informed me “I draw you.”  I was pretty impressed with this from a two year old and I asked her for more details.  “Are those my shoes?”  She grinned and pointed to the torso “that your shirt” and then to the blob at the top “there your face.”

I love being a mommy and getting to watch her learn and grow and explore her own creativity.  Plus, I’ve gotta be pleased with how skinny she made blob-Mommy.  LOL!


The past few days

I haven’t done a TON of sewing in the past week, just because I’ve been busy at work and home and exhausted after the regular day to day stuff is finally finished.  But, since Thursdays and Fridays are my days off, I was able to make this sweet little skirt for a coworker of mine, whose adorable little girl just turned 1 year old.  The little cutie is a redhead and I imagine she’ll look great in yellow, so it was a fun use for the fabric I won on 2fun4u’s blog giveaway.

A couple of other quick projects are in the work that I’ll post about soon.  And I’ve been talking to several people about possible items in the near future: curtains for my brother Daniel (first time homeowner – woo hoo!), another dress for Aunt Bonnie (this one a full length gown in gold to be worn at a formal gig this winter), and a couple of others.  Very cool.  More details soon.


Then, I made a skirt for Eva!

I used every possible square inch of blue fabric for my skirt, but had plenty of the black and white polka dot fabric leftover, so I made a quick skirt for my girly girl!  No pattern here, I just cut a 10″ wide strip of fabric about time and a half what I’d need to wrap around her body, and a narrower strap almost twice as long as the first.  hemmed and gathered the long strip, sewed it to the shorter one to create that flouncy look at the bottom.  Stitched up the back seam.  Folded over the top to create a casing for some elastic (which I then added, and stitched the hole closed).  Voila!

I let her try on the skirt and – the girl is well trained! – when I grabbed the camera she rushed over to the curtain we always use for a back drop.  Then, she struck so many cute poses I couldn’t pick one.  Here – enjoy a multitude of pics!


I made a skirt for myself!

The story you are about to read is real.  Only the measurements have been changed to protect the innocent.

I found some cute fabric at a good price recently and decided I wanted to make a little skirt out of it.  I invisioned something about knee length, a bit fuller than an A line probably cut out of a few more pieces.  I made my own pattern, by taking my measurements and doing some math.

My belly dips a little bit at the navel, and I find it most flattering to wear skirts just a bit above that so the fabric can kind of smooth the line (I always wear shirts untucked over a skirt, preferably a bit fitted, and coming a bit below the navel).  I didn’t want the skirt to poof out too high up, added bulk where I really don’t need it.  So, I took my waist measurement where I wanted the waistband of the skirt to lie, another measurement where I wanted to start the flare, and measured the height between the two.  I also measured the length I wanted.

For the sake of this post, let’s call that waist measurement 27 inches (ha!) and the lower measurement 30 inches.  I decided I wanted 6 panels of fabric for the skirt and so I divided 27 by six (4.5) and drew a line that length on my pattern tracing paper, plus an extra 1/2″ for seam allowances (I use a 1/4″ allowance when I make my own patterns – generous seam allowances waste fabric and make curves harder to sew, in my experience).  I drew a perpendicular line down and added a second line segment for my lower body measurement, (30/6=5, plus the seam allowance would be 5.5″).

Connect the dots:

Next, I extended that perpendicular line down to get the total length I wanted for the skirt, and drew a horizontal line as a basis for my hemline, twice the width of the waistline.

More connecting dots:

I tried to draw more of a curve than an angle where the two dot-connecter lines meet up so the skirt would fall better:

And I added a curve to the hemline:

Since both curves where drawn freehand and I didn’t want funky asymetrical pieces, I folded the pattern piece in half lengthwise and cut both layers at once:

I did the whole thing a second time, to create separate pattern pieces for the front and the back.  The back piece is a bit longer, and flares a little more, because I was pleased with that effect on Bonnie’s dresses.

I took a break from my meticulous photo taking at this point and cut out 6 front pieces and 6 back pieces (three each for the lining, and for the top layer).  I worked on the lining first.  Sewed the front pieces right sides together, serged the seams, and pressed towards the back.  Sewed the back pieces right sides together, serged the seams, and pressed towards the back.  Sewed the front to the back along the seam that would fall on my right side (serged and pressed) and then measured the other side with the zipper I’d bought, marked on the fabric just below where the zipper would go in, and sewed and serged below that point.

Since I cut the back pieces longer than the front pieces, the hemlines didn’t match up at the side seams (no surprise there):

I trimmed them to create a smooth curve.

Then I hemmed the lining with your standard boring fold, press, pin, stitch method.  Here is the finished lining:

I sewed the outer skirt in the same manner as the lining, right up until the hemline.  For the outer skirt I cut a 10″ wide strip of polka dot fabric and sewed it, right sides together, to the hemline of the skirt.  Then I turned up the raw edges and pressed them, folded the polka dot fabric in half up over the hemline (shown below), pinned, and topstitched the whole thing down.  Sorry I didn’t photograph more of this.  I was sooooo ready to be done by this point and getting impatient with a photo for every step (which slows me down a lot).

I sewed the skirt and lining right sides together along the waist, turned right sides out, pressed, and topstitched the waist.  Sewed in my zipper and I was good to go!  Here it is:

Eva saw me posing in front of our “backdrop” curtains and had to come join me for the photo op.  She’s a little ham already.


Birth Announcement

After work today I went out to the back yard for my daily blackberry harvest from the wild bramble growing in the nature preserve behind our house.  I’ve been picking them daily and saving the extras in the freezer until we have enough for a pie.  Today, I found something new!

A whole section of dirt was upturned, and as I stepped closer, I could see leathery pieces of eggshells strewn around the a couple of shallow holes in the dirt and scattered through the long grasses.  This area is only four feet or so from the bank of a small natural lake, and I’m pretty sure we had turtle babies!  (I thought maybe alligators, but after looking at pictures online I think the shells more closely resemble photos I found of turtle eggs). The ground was undisturbed as of yesterday so I think the little guys hatched just last night!

I have walked right over this spot a couple of times before; I’m glad to see I didn’t hurt anyone in the process.  Happy birthday turtles (or whatever you were)!

June 2008
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