Tag Archives: Spool

The Don’t Ask Me Why Dress

While I make every effort to know myself as well as possible, getting to know the me in me, as it were, there are times when I am inexplicable even to myself. I think most of what I do is ruled by logic, reason, hunger and the desire for a nice glass of wine, you know, the standard reasons people do what they do. But every once in a while I just make weird choices. Like when I moved to Madrid and used non-roller suitcases. This was a poor choice. Or when I recently threw a party and didn’t include potato salad. That was a questionable choice. Or when I fed my cat to the point of fatness. That was an interesting choice that has led to adorableness, but also poor health (I assume). I’m a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, with layers like an onion. I’m a metaphor spliced with a simile. What are you going to do.

So recently,  I went out of my way to buy a pattern that I knew, I just knew, wasn’t anything all that special. I don’t know why I did that. I first encountered this pattern, Simplicity 4977, in an Ebay lot, which I actually lost out on. I don’t know about you guys, but I hit a limit with Ebay sometimes, I just can’t justify going beyond a certain price point. Sigh. My ebay habits aside (I….need to get off Ebay. It’s a problem) I just really liked this pattern for some reason. I. DON’T. KNOW. WHY. Check it out:

This pattern is nothing special. It is a muu-muu. With a dart. COME on. Why did this pattern attract me so deeply that I  sought it out on Etsy and paid, like 7 dollars for it!?! What happened here? I just don’t know. Don’t ask me why. Still, I think I made something pretty damn cute, if I do say so myself, and it wasn’t hard, I just had to change everything about it….

Okay, so this thing looks MUCH better with a belt, but whenever I say that people are like, no, its fine, so I wanted to SHOW it to you without a belt, to PROVE to you that I’m RIGHT. I inserted elastic at the waistline, a big thick piece which I had gotten as part of a grab bag of lace and stuff for 2.99 at the PA Fabric Outlet. God I love it there. I will miss that….

See? Isn’t that better? Yes, it is, elastic or no the belt helps. I just need to resign myself to the fact that belts and I are BFFS.

The fabric is from Spool a quilters cotton that I just fell madly in love with and had to buy, despite the fact that I’m trying not to buy any fabric, let alone of the quilters cotton variety. That being said, Tilly just wrote a very interesting post about sewing with this controversial stuff. I sew with quilters cotton all the damn time, let’s be real about life.  She mentions that sleeves should be avoided with this fabric, but this pattern has kimono sleeves, so I think it’s pretty good.

What else did I change? I shorted it a few (8) inches and I inserted pockets. Like I do.

GOD I love pockets. Fun fact, these don’t even fit my whole hands. Yeah, there were some struggles with this project. Aren’t there always?

I also tried to lower the neckline. I did lower it slightly, but it really just made it a boatneck. Struggle. It’s everywhere.

Yeah, I photo edited this. Deal with it. But how cute is this fabric? The pheasants. They just got me.

A little back shot.

Honestly? I’m going to wear the heck out of this. I wore it last night at the dinner party I threw, it was a hit. (RIGHT, GUYS?) It’s cute, it’s easy, it’s comfortable, but I know it’s not the best thing I’ve ever made. It’s nice on the inside, french seams and bias binding, and I do like it, but I have NO idea why I felt so deeply compelled to make it. What can I say?

As I type this, all I can think about is that Billy Joel song. I don’t even like Billy Joel. Don’t ask me why.

By the by, I took these photos my own self, with my tripod! I even figured out how to do jumping shots! Of course, it took some tries:

But then I figured it out:

It’s not as much fun to jump for a timer, but I bet you I will get over that. Or will I? I don’t know, man, sometimes I don’t know myself at all…

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Filed under Clothing, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns, Vintage

The Easy Does It Dress

Ease. It’s totally a thing. I was trying to explain this to someone recently, about ease and how your measurements are one thing and ease is another and who ease is so personal and how much ease you need totally depends on you and what makes you feel comfortable blah blah blah. (Oh, and ps: giveaway enterers, guys, don’t tell me about how you don’t resize patterns, maybe I will just take the giveaway back! I would never do that, but YOU DON’T KNOW ME!) At any rate, recently I made a dress. Well, I SAY recently, but I cut this thing out like two weeks ago, and yet I’ve been dragging my feet on it for a good deal of time. the thing is, Sunni proposed a sewalong. And I was like, that sounds fun! And I had this fabric, which I bought at least a year ago, which seemed just spoiling for a shirtdress, so I thought, well, why not?

So I bought the pattern. Do I have shirtdress patterns? Yes, of course I do. But this one seemed cute, so I bought it! Did I follow any of the sewalong guidelines? Hahhahhhhhha that’s adorable. no. Of course I didn’t. That would be crazytalk. I don’t do such things. Still, I ended up with something pretty darn cute, if I do say so myself.

How happy do I look? Well. honestly, this dress is actually a bit big on me, the bodice, the waist, there is QUITE a bit of ease built into this thing. And honestly, do I mind the comfort? No. But it’s not the most flattering thing, so if I was going to make thing thing again you can bet your bottom dollar I would cut at least a size down.

The belt is unbearably helpful. Belts can solve all sorts of problems, now, can they? The reality is, this pattern, simplicitiy 1880, has a TON of ease.

Side view! I’m very serious about side views, as you can see on my face. You can barely see it, but the sleeves are pleated.

The back, she is large. Sigh. It’s okay. Serves me right for not making a muslin.

I do all the grilling, because I’m extremely controlling and refuse to let other people cook because I’m awesome. My mamala and I agreed that this dress really looks best with a belt (because of all the ease) so I borrowed one of hers. Thanks, mamala!

The fabric is from Spool, I bought the end of a Kaffe Fasset spool at least a year ago and then put it aside and did nothing with it. The buttons are from the hoarder. So this is a stash busting dress, indeed! I bought the zipper and new thread, but other than that, all stash!

I do love this fabric. The pattern ate up all of it, so that’s it for me, but I love it, and I’m sure I will wear this dress, ease and all. After all, it makes me feel VERY thin. And the busyness of the pattern of the fabric really worked with all the fiddly bits (britishism I’m adopting) of the pattern. I had to piece together one of the four skirt pieces (I love the skirt, boy, is it a fabric hog!)and I don’t think you can even tell.

The notched collar. It turned out….okay. Not great. The instructions failed me here, so I had to kind of make it up. Perhaps if I had waited for Sunni’s tutorial? Alas, I did not. Whatever, it works, and that’s all that matters.

I wore this thing to an office bbq we hosted for the real estate company. It’s my family business, I’ve had my license for 5 years and I’m doing rentals this summer. We made all sorts of glorious food:

And a lovely time was had by all, including these fellows:

And I even had time to dance in my melon patch:

And drink some wine!


And now I must go to bed, because it is my for-real birthday and it’s rather late (or rather early, depending on how you look at it.) Are you working on anything that’s taking a longer time then you thought it might? I am happy with this end result, but it was like pulling teeth to finish it….

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Filed under Clothing, Sewalong, Sewing, Simplicity Patterns

Captain’s Log 4/20/11 and GIVEAWAY WINNER!

First of all, congratulations to my very first giveaway winner, Alice! A helpful internet program randomized the results, and her number came up! So thank you so much everyone for entering and I will be hosting another one soon, I promise. Alice, I’ve already emailed you, but please let me know how I can send you your new package of goodies! I had, mistakenly assumed that it would actually be nice by this point but it’s cold and rainy here and I want to cry. Oh, well, have this charming series of magnolia, cherry and pear blossom photos for your escapist viewing pleasure:

Nice, right? But it’s all a lie. The silly trees bloom in response to changes in light, not changed in temperature. Silly trees…well, a girl can dream. And compulsively check weather.com.

Now, onto more sewing productivity project! Here is a helpful if totally obvious tip that I can now offer after an evening spent hand sewing and then cursing. When you plan a project, BUY ALL THE STUFF YOU WILL NEED AT ONCE. Or, MAKE SURE YOU HAVE EVERYTHING BEFORE YOU START. Because otherwise you will be ALMOST done your project, say, Simplicity 6723 and then realize that you need a zipper before you can go further. So you will go to, say, the adorable if expensive Spool and buy yourself an invisible zipper and hand sew it on because you don’t have a zipper foot only to have the damn thing break because Coats’ invisible zippers are literally the worst things in the world. And no, it wasn’t expensive and yes you can get another zipper but what you really want is that TWO HOURS OF YOUR LIFE BACK. And, also, what the hell with the vilification of zippers? I like zippers. I don’t need them to be invisible, I like seeing them, why must we relegate the poor zipper to invisibility? Why can’t we all acknowledge that we need zippers and garments don’t just magically fasten on their own and stop demanding invisible zippers? They always break! And they are fussy! And expensive! And I hate them! Argh!

Of course, someday I will get a machine with a zipper foot and probably jump on the invisible zipper bandwagon, but until then it’s all just hateration.

And so, confronted with such pain and anguish, I turned to other projects. And that’s another productivity tip, keep small easy to finish projects around for when you hit a road block (or zipper) with a bigger project and just need something quick and satisfying that you can finish in one sitting and restore your faith in sewing/humanity/life. Lately I’ve been making little birds for the Nichole Canuso Dance Company Benefit (you should come!) and when those are done I’m going to do some embroidery for it as well. I use a pattern by Michael Fulkerson available for FREE on the Spool blog and it’s a great way to get rid of scraps of fabric. See?

Sewaholic did a post on scraps that was very interesting and if you read the comments people gave all kinds of great ideas about how to use scraps. You can check it out over here. I like to make the birds, because they are fun and easy and remind me of all my past projects. I think covering buttons would also be fun, but I’d need a kit. Oh, well, one more thing to add to the list.

So that’s my sewing advice for the week. Buy everything at once, and make sure you have fun small back ups so you can feel accomplished rather then frustrated. So don’t feel like this:

When you could be like this:

And for the love of God, explain to me the appeal of invisible zippers. Anyone? Bueller?

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Filed under Giveaway, Sewing