Wining Wife™

Because housework goes better with Malbec...

So Much Snark: McCall’s and Vogue Have Early Fall Collections Out

Oh boy, so I still have a LOT of unpacking to do before I can sew again. But we’re here; we’re in Wichita (just in time for some street flooding, which we avoided, but still! Hello Rain!), and mid-moving, McCall’s and Vogue came out with stuff for fall. I couldn’t let this release go without saying something, and you know, there’s a lot to say. I’m still waiting to see what Butterick comes out with. Needless to say, when there’s a sale at the fabric stores on patterns, there will be a few that I may pick up. Because you know, packing over 2000 paper patterns wasn’t enough work…or something. 

Let’s start with the McCall’s early fall release

I’m actually going to start with the patterns I had a “WHAAAA???” reaction to…like this one: McCall’s 7211:

M7211, Pet Costumes

Um… I’m just going to leave that right there.

This one, McCall’s 7178 should be captioned, “Grandma called, she wants her bellbottoms back.”

M7178, Toddlers'/Children's Top, Dress and Pants

The kids are seriously cute though.

McCall’s 7181 is a cute top gone wrong.

M7181, Girls' Tops

I mean, what a peplum top that doesn’t hit in the right place *really* needs is a bow on one shoulder in an ill-matching fabric.

And one more, then I promise, I’ll stop picking on the kids’ patterns. Let me present McCall’s 7179:

M7179, Children's/Girls' Dresses

“Mom made me this dress out of the random scraps she had hanging out from that quilt she made Aunt Edna last month.”

McCall’s 7206: 

M7206, Men's Shirts

Chandler called. He wants his shirt back.

If you’re having trouble hiding adult diapers, you may want to consider 7203:

M7203, Misses' Romper and Jumpsuits

I mean???? Saggy butt, and that lovely teletubby effect we all want when wearing clothes. NOT!

M7203, Misses' Romper and Jumpsuits

Might I suggest making it in an orange color? 

Wait…

7194 isn’t just a top, it’s also a napkin for when you dine in a restaurant.

M7194, Misses' Tops

And View D is perfect for the woman who wanted to be in Ice Capades. 

M7194, Misses' Tops

Not sure if the problem with McCall’s 7191 is the pattern or the execution buuuut… 

M7191, Misses' Tops

It’s a very odd fit around the arms and sides.

I’ve liked the Archive releases until I saw this one. McCall’s 7190:

M7190, Misses'/Miss Petite Tunic, Belt and Skirt

It’s just a bit too costume-y for my taste. 

Now for the few I’ll pick up:

McCall’s 7184:  – both the women’s and kids’ sizes

M7184, Misses'/Children's/Girls' Top and Jumper

I’d do it in a different fabric, of course, but I adore the matching outfits here. Too much cute!

McCall’s 7204: 

M7204, Women's Jacket, Top, Dress and Pants

Love it! I think I could adapt this for maternity wear.

And now…onto the Vogue fall pattern releases

I’m not sure where to start here… I think I’ll start with the ones that make me scratch my head.

Vogue 1458

V1458, Misses' Dress

Ummmmm….WHAT????

Vogue 1457 

V1457, Misses' Dress

Is it a scuba suit? Is it a dress? What is it?

Vogue 1461

V1461, Misses' Dress

Alicia Silverstone called. She would like her Clueless costume back.

Vogue 1462

V1462, Misses' Shirt and Camisole

Because giant boob pockets are flattering on a sheer shirt…or something.

Vogue 9122

V9122, Misses' Jumper

Ummm…. I don’t even know what to say about this thing. The neck yoke? What is she holding? It’s just all bad. 

Vogue 9128

V9128, Misses' Top

I didn’t know that holster-chic was a thing.

Vogue 9129

V9129, Misses' Tunic

The sloppy peplum look

Vogue 9142

V9142, Children's/Girls' Jacket

Ummmmm…what?

Vogue 9144

V9144, 14

I don’t even know…but they are staring at me, and that totally creeps me out.

Now…for the ones I’ll probably pick up.

Vogue 9141

V9141, Children's/Girls' Dress and Belt

Because: Cute. And a great little dress for Thanksgiving :) 

Vogue 9124 

V9124, Misses' Dress

I didn’t like this one at first, but it grew on me.

Vogue 9126

V9126, Misses' Dress

Oh Vintage Vogue…

Vogue 9127

V9127, Misses' Dress

Yup…you know me well…

Vogue 1467 

V1467, Misses' Jacket and Pants

I’m actually, to be honest, on the fence about this. I’m not sure the double breasted look would be good on my curvy body. I’ll have to try on such a coat first, when I’m not 18 weeks pregnant 😛 to see.

Vogue 1460 

V1460, Misses' Dress

I love this. I will probably alter the neckline just a little bit though.

Which of the patterns did you think were great? Bottom feeders? Post your thoughts in the comments.

 

 

MOVING!!!! – Our Home, Not the Blog

Well, it’s official. Not only have I been knocked out for the last few months by first trimester pregnancy woes, but we’ve been packing up our home and getting ready to move next month. Wining Husband has accepted a job offer that offers our family some better opportunities. There’s quite a bit of a move involved in a short period of time, so I’ll be absent, most likely, until August. Meanwhile, if you’ve contacted me about guest posting, etc. Please, know that it will be a little bit before I can get things up. First trimester pregnancy, a toddler, a teenager, and a cross-country move have me slowed down quite a bit! 

2013-02-23 17.01.46

Thus, I’ll be back soon, my dear readers! And I’ll be sharing more sewing adventures, wine tasting notes, book notes, farm tour notes, and other random bits with you from a new location! 

 

No More French Wine in Pennsylvania?

Photo by:  Maja Petric…or German wine, or Canadian wine, or Greek wine…

As of May 14, 2015, residents of Pennsylvania may find themselves hard pressed to get their hands on their favorite champagnes, Bordeaux wines, and even Sauvignon Blanc hailing from New Zealand. With the passing of House Bill 189, the sale and shipment of any international wines has become prohibited in Pennsylvania. 

According to a press release from the National Association of Wine Retailers, this bill effectively bans 60% of the wine approved for sale in the United States from being available to residents in Pennsylvania. They speculate this bill may generate litigation concerning discrimination against foreign wineries. The following statement was made by NAWR’s Executive Director, Tom Wark:

“America’s wine retailers, not wineries, are consumers’ only source of French, German, Spanish, Italian as well as all other imported, including Australian, New Zealand, Chilean, Argentinean, Canadian and South African wines. Banning out-of-state retailers from shipping into Pennsylvania while only allowing domestic wineries to ship is not only a slap in the face to American retailers, but represents a complete and total disregard for Pennsylvania consumers who expect the long awaited direct wine shipping rights to give them access to all wines—Not just those made in North America.

Equally important, since auction houses that sell rare and hard to find wines and Wine-of-the-Month clubs are classified as retailers, these services would also be off limits to Pennsylvania wine lovers. And since most Kosher wines are produced outside the country, these too would largely be banned from the direct shipment channel.

“Additionally, we believe responsible lawmakers ought to be concerned with the Constitutional and free trade problems raised by the impending ban on the sales and shipments of all non-domestic wines. Banning the sale and shipment of an entire class of wines (imported wines) in favor of another class of wines will only invite lawsuits—as well it should.

“The NAWR urges the Pennsylvania Senate to pass a genuine wine shipping bill that allows shipment of both domestic and imported wines by allowing consumers to purchase from both out of state wineries and out-of-state retailers. If the Pennsylvania Senate follow the path of the House and passes a blatantly discriminatory bill likely to be challenged in court, Pennsylvanians will not have direct shipment access to any wines.”

Originally the bill was set up as a promise to wine consumers that they would finally have that long-awaited privilege of having out of state wineries ship to them directly. However, as bills are wont to do, it evolved and changed into its current, quite prohibitive, state.

Bad for consumers

I don’t need to tell you that this bill is bad for consumers and wine connoisseurs. As Mr. Wark states above, it cuts Pennsylvania residents out of the ability to pursue their own cellar building activities at auctions and other venues. It also makes it so specialty wines may not be at all available to the demographics wishing to consume them. 

HB 189 is also bad for businesses

Businesses will be hard-pressed to provide for the demands of consumers. With the sale and shipment of imported wines effectively banned, they will be forced to sell a smaller variety of wines, thus making it harder for them to compete with neighboring states for wine sales. It’s a bad deal all around.

I’m hard pressed to see how this bill is supposed to help customers (or businesses) in Pennsylvania. I can see it being a deterrent for those who wish to relocate to the state, particularly if they are lovers of imported wines. Like Mr. Wark, I believe that this bit of legislation will lead to litigation. A revision that allows for the import and direct sales and shipment of wines to customers – a privilege enjoyed by many residing in other states – will help boost Pennsylvania’s economy. 

What are your opinions on this new bill? Do you support it? Do you think there are other problems with it not mentioned? Please share your thoughts in the comments section.

 

Vogue’s Summer 2015 Releases

I’m a bit behind on commenting on releases from pattern companies, I realize that! I’ll have my commentary on the new releases from the other guys soon! I’m playing catch-up since I was wiped out by a wave of pregnancy fatigue so strong…well, you get the idea. This is the pregnancy of fatigue and ravenous hunger. Hah! 

Nevertheless, there were a lot of patterns I really liked from Vogue’s summer 2015 release. Some of them…well I won’t be able to really make/wear for a while, others, I think could be adapted for maternity wear relatively easily. And some, like always, have me scratching my head. I know there’s a market out there for the weird stuff…I’m just not that market.

Let’s start with the pregnant woman friendly stuff

Vogue doesn’t have a separate maternity line. That’s okay, though. In their new releases, I saw two things – possibly three – that I’ll make for wearing over the summer. First up is Vogue 9107.  I really like this – done with the right fabric, it could be super chic – and look at all that room for a growing preggo belly. Of course, when the baby belly gets bigger, I’ll throw some leggings on under since some of that drape in the front is going to pull up and over – but still. It also will be great after baby’s born. I grabbed this pattern and can’t wait to make it up – I just have to decide which fabrics I want to use for it.

V9107, Misses' Tunic, Dress and Pants

I also grabbed Vogue 9117 for the dress and the cardigan. All of the pieces in this collection are jersey, so they’ll have a good bit of stretch, making it easy to wear through the summer. With Little Miss, I wore Maxi dresses and skirts through most of the summer until I had to break down and get some maternity jeans and capris (And I have something special I think I’m going to do for jeans this time using the new Real Deal Jeans pattern from Winter Wear Designs). So I know that dresses are going to be my friend this time as well.

V9117, Misses' Cardigan, Top, Dress, Skirt and Pants

I may also try adding some length to the front of the top and ruching the sides and using the skirt in the pattern as well. 

V9117, Misses' Cardigan, Top, Dress, Skirt and Pants

The third pattern I grabbed, where I’m not sure how well it will work for my purposes – it’s a dress, but come mid-summer it will probably be more of a tunic/shirt – is the DKNY Vogue 1448. I’m still on the fence as to whether I’ll play around with this one before summer – but I think if I moved the sash up to right under the bust , it could work. Because of the seams on the mock wrap, I’d have to be real careful about lengthening it if I chose to go that route – but I think it would make a super-cute piece.

V1448, Misses' Dress and Belt

Now for the Vogue patterns I liked and grabbed – but won’t be making for a bit

Donna Karan’s Vogue 1451 caught my eye, and I rather like it. So I grabbed it. I really like the different lines and angles at play on this shirt. It’s just a lot of fun.

V1451, Misses' Top and Skirt

I also grabbed the Guy Laroche outfit. When I make it, though, I’ll be making the skirt longer.

V1450, Misses' Top and Skirt

I also really like Vogue 1446, the Rebecca Taylor dress

V1446, Misses' DressV1446, Misses' Dress

The other Rebecca Taylor dress was really cute as well, so I grabbed Vogue 1449 – again, I’ll have to add a little length to it so it’s not a tunic on my tall body, but I think it’s really cute for summer.

V1449, Misses'/Misses' Petite Dress

The Tracy Reese dress, Vogue 1447 was also worth grabbing. So I did. 

V1447, Misses' Dress

I also felt compelled to grab the two vintage patterns in the collection Vogue 9105

V9105, Misses' Dress and Sash

and Vogue 9106 – I mean both of these dresses make me want to make up a delicious Beef Bourguignon a la Julia Child and welcome my husband home with a glass of his favorite scotch and a peck on the cheek.

V9106, Misses' Dress and Belt

I really liked Vogue 9100, but they were sold out of it at my local JoAnns when the sale was on. I’ll pick it up at some point.

V9100, Misses' Dress

One other dress I snagged was Vogue 9102. 

V9102, Misses'/Misses' Petite Dress

Finally I grabbed this little dress for my Little Miss. Too cute.

V1455, Children's/Girls' Dress

Patterns I’m on the fence about

I keep going back and forth on Vogue 9108. I think it would be really cute done up right, and probably a pretty cute thing to wear while pregnant. It’s a Tilton dress. But I like it. I may just get it at the next sale. 

V9108, Misses' Top, Dress and Leggings

Vogue 1452 is made up in a hideous fabric. It’s really hard to tell what’s going on with it. I’m really on the fence, because I think if it were done up right it would be really cute – and hey it’s a jumpsuit look you can break apart for when that fad is over

V1452, Misses' Top and Pants

Vogue 9116 is really cute, but I’m not sure how long this jumpsuit trend is going to last…

V9116, Misses' Jumpsuit

I really like the kimono top in Vogue 9115 – but I have a couple patterns like it already.

V9115, Misses' Jacket

You know, it’s funny…for once, I don’t really have a lot of patterns (or really any) to poke fun at in this release. The ones I didn’t mention here are ones that are either not my style or things that wouldn’t work on a full-figured woman (I LOVE Vogue 1444 by DKNY, but I can’t see how someone with a bust would work that dress).

V1444, Misses' Dress

Which patterns did you like from this release? Which ones did you think were “meh?” Post your thoughts in the comments. 

Sofilantjes’ Brueram Dress

2015-04-19 19.39.44-1As if my little gal didn’t already have a bunch of dresses (seriously, though, a girl can never have too many dresses, and she loves them!), I made her two more. I was selected to pretest Sofilantjes’ Brueram Dress. This is a cute pattern that comes with top, dress, and maxi options. It was designed for a contest held by the Facebook group, Betties Basket a while back. The contestants could draw and send their design ideas in and designers could choose which ideas they wanted to make into a pattern. 

So, this very cute little dress pattern was created by the talented Annemieke Jacobs. I was excited about the opportunity to test the 12 months size, because it was a pattern I could build skills on. I’d never done shirring before – but I figured it couldn’t be too hard to do.  I wound up making two dresses – because I had trouble with the shirring on the first one. 

My first attempt at shirring

2015-04-14 06.43.102015-04-14 06.43.21 Oh boy. So I read the directions, hand-wound my elastic, popped it into the bobbin case of my Brother SE400, and stitched my little heart out…until I realized “Huh. That’s…strange…there’s no…shirring happening…plus the elastic looks loose.” So, I did what anyone would do. I took pictures of what was going on and posted in the testing group and in the SE400 group on Facebook to ask if anyone knew how to fix it there (see the images to the left), and then I took to Google.  What I found, didn’t seem to bode well for my Brother SE400.

You see…Brother machines with drop-in bobbins are notoriously difficult to use for shirring because there’s no easy way to adjust the tension – or so the story goes.  BUT! Dear readers, I found a blog post with a great video, that would solve ALL my problems – and I was determined (so determined) to make this dress work. I was in love with my fabric combination. The blog post I found was Grosgrain: Shirring With Your Brother

To make the long story short, you want to pull your elastic tight – but not too tight when winding the bobbin by hand (this didn’t take as long as I thought it would by the way) – and you want to tighten your bobbin tension just a bit. How do you do this? Take off the bottom plate and pull out the bobbin case. There will be a little dot of green paint – that’s where your tension screw is. Turn this just a bit to the right, and you’ll have the right tension – practice on scrap fabric first though. You also need to hand feed the elastic into the bobbin case, you’ll feel it click when it’s ready, then you’re good to go. (The video in the above link shows you how to do this really well).

2015-04-14 08.40.02Only…even with doing things right, my fabric still didn’t look as great and stretchy as the other ladies’ pictures looked – and yes, I steamed the shirring and everything. Plus, the fit was off and the bodice was way big on my little gal. I felt defeated – but only for a moment. You see, I idly wondered if my fabric choice (a vintage woven of some sort, a bit heavier in nature than the quilting cotton I used for the bottom) was tripping me up. So, I grabbed a piece of scrap fabric and tried – and it worked! It was WAY more scrunchy and elasticy! It was then I decided that I would take in the bodice on the first dress and make a second dress in lighter weight fabric – so that I could give Anne accurate feedback about fit.

The end results

Both dresses were relatively easy to sew (yes, even with the initial shirring trip up – it’s not hard, just takes some patience and some fandangling to get the hang of it). I’d recommend this pattern for an advanced beginner or intermediate sewer. You’ll want to be familiar with understitching as well as shirring, and you will want to have some patience for hand stitching since the lining inside will be hand stitched to finish (soooo worth the way it looks though). I took in the first dress an inch on each side. Both dresses fit snuggly – so there’s no slipping of the thick straps, which is a good thing when you have an active toddler. When I make the dress again (oh yes, I have plans for this) I will probably go ahead and use the 18 months size since the 12 months bodice was just a little difficult to get on and off of my gal). I hand sewed on a flower from Sunshine Shoppe to each of the dresses, and voila! They were done. 

The pattern is available now

The Brueram Top and Dresses pattern is available from Sofilantjes for $8.95.  You can also join the Sofilantjes Sew & Show group on Facebook. There is a contest starting today at 4pm EST/21.00 CET. Post pictures of your completed Brueram to the giveaway photo album in the group by 7pm EST/ 24.00 CET May 7th and get a chance to win your money back AND an additional pattern of your choice!!

The pictures

*This post contains affiliate links to Sunshine Shoppe and Sofilantjes. Should you click on one of the links and make a purchase, I will receive compensation, which helps me contribute to my family.*

LKC’s Bow Back Beauty Blog Hop Tour and Giveaway

2015-03-25 13.22.26 2015-03-26 13.46.52I’m really excited to share a new Bow Back Beauty Dress from Little Kiwi’s Closet I created for Little Miss.  As you remember, I pattern tested for the onesie peplum version of the dress. I created a stripes version and a floral version upcycling from shirts I’d found at the Salvation Army.  I loved this pattern so much, that when an opportunity to participate in a blog tour for the onesie, top, peplum, and dress presented itself, I was happy to join in. 

The pattern is available in sizes newborn through 12. If I have another girl, I’ll certainly have to make a newborn version. You can purchase it on Craftsy for $8.00 or, if you’re feeling lucky, you can enter the Rafflecopter giveaway at the end of this post to win one. Be sure to scroll down to the end after the pictures to submit your entry!

This dress is a fast sew. From start to finish it took two hours – a little longer than the peplum/onesies because of the hemming of the skirt on this dress. I wound up using three different fabrics I picked up at thrift stores for this one – a white rib knit for the bindings and bow circle, a blue, lightly striped vintage almost terry like jersey for the bodice, and swimsuit knit for the bow back and bottom. I really love how it turned out. I decided to do this one sleeveless, in preparation for summer. As I write this, Little Miss is toddling all over the family room wearing it. I think it’s a hit! (Of course, she’s a gal who loves her dresses. 

Because I’d already made this pattern twice, I didn’t hit any snaffoos – and my knit behaved! Yay! I think the final result is fabulous. I really love how this pattern sews up.

Without further ado, pictures:

Gorgeous dress, right? (And cute toddler!) 

Don’t forget to enter the giveaway!

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Something Cool for the Teenager

So around here, I spend a lot of time making things for myself and the toddler. I have a few great men’s patterns to bust out – and I even got some nice fabric to make my husband some shirts. I’ve got a robe “in progress” for the teenager – but I haven’t finished it. I need to have a UFO weekend around here sometime and finish up all the things I’ve cut or started, but not sewn or finished. But for now, I have finished something for the teenager, and I think it’s pretty cool.

Dandelions ‘n’ Dungarees Adult Old Tyme Baseball Shirt

The teeIt’s no secret that around this house we love baseball. In fact, baseball season is about the only time the TV cable gets turned on around here (the other time is when someone is sick…but even then, it’s to watch marathon episodes of something terrible like Teen Mom). In our house, there’s a pretty big rivalry, since we’re fans of AL West teams – Wining Husband cheers for the Seattle Mariners, and the teenager and I cheer for the Oakland Athletics. I’m not sure who toddler girl is a fan of, but at the moment, it looks like it’s the Los Angeles Angels (each of these are affiliate links – and the only three in this article), since, well…she cries any time we watch a game where they lose.  So, when I saw that Dandelions ‘n’ Dungarees posted a call for testers for a baseball jersey shirt, I was quick to sign up. I was selected to test the XS for my teenage son. 

The jersey can be made out of twill, cottons, wovens, or even knit fabric. It uses piping – and it was my first time working with this notion.  It was surprisingly easy. I’ve already done understitching and stitching the ditch, so it wasn’t hard at all to use the piping. I want to get a piping foot for my machine so I can follow the directions to create my own custom piping.

Choosing the twill fabric for the shirt

Like I mentioned, The Teenager is a huge fan of the Oakland Athletics, so it was a given that I would do the shirt in the team’s colors. I originally had found some *great* baseball jersey like fabric at Goodwill a few weeks ago – but he said “Meh, Wrah, I want a white jersey.” So, I’ve set the gray aside to make Wining Husband a Mariners-themed jersey. I went to the fabric store and looked for my notions. I could only find a lemon-yellow piping (here’s where having that piping foot would be awesome), so I decided I’d do the piping green and the contrast cuffs and facing in yellow. I grabbed the yellow and white twill, and I was on my way. I have a vintage A’s patch on order (I’ll apply it later since there are rules about that stuff) and I’ll put the number “52” on the back for him (Yoenis Cespedes’ number…yes, he was traded, but he’s still my son’s favorite ball player). 

Sewing the shirt up

I was pleasantly surprised. For some reason, I had it in my head that this would be more challenging to sew up than it actually was. Perhaps it was the pregnancy fatigue talking, or maybe just my concern about fitting my son, or the attention to detail I paid in doing the work because I know he’s going to want to wear this shirt a bunch. I’m not sure. What I do know is that it was surprisingly easy to sew up, and it took about an hour and a half from start to finish…except for the time the iron decided to throw up some random brown gunk on the white! I wound up washing the shirt and cleaning the iron before I attached the snaps. I’ll have to make some more of these.

Waiting was the hardest part…

When the shirt was done, my son ran off to school to get there early before I could check the fit and get photographs of him! I stalked the front door starting mid-afternoon, waiting for him to get home so he could see his shirt and try it on. He was…not as enthusiastic as I was – not because he didn’t like it, but because he’d had a rigorous workout at track practice and he’d been up late and then up early studying hard, so he was tired. He says he’s looking forward to me putting the patches on. Once he tried it on, though, he really liked it. And it fit him great!

The photos:

Without further ado, here are the rest of the photos! There’s a link at the end if you’re interested in learning more about the pattern. 

The pattern is on sale through Saturday 4/25

Through Saturday 4/25, you can purchase a copy of the adult Old Tyme Baseball Shirt pattern in the Dandelions ‘n’ Dungarees Etsy shop (Not an affiliate link – just for you to grab) for just $5. In fact, you can get any of the baseball shirt patterns for this discounted price. (I may have to pick up the toddler size myself so we can be a matching family.)

What fabric would you use for making a baseball jersey? Post your thoughts in the comments. 

Kelly’s Twirly Skirts from Bella Sunshine Designs (and a Big Announcement)

So the last post I wrote got a LOT of traffic and attention, and some great comments, and I want to talk about all of that – and I will – in a separate post. Thank you all so much for all of your support and for reading! I feel bad about taking some time to get back to the blog after posting it – but I was struck by a wave of extreme exhaustion that came out of nowhere, so it seemed. I could not, for the life of me, get any energy to do beyond what needed to be done. 

An announcement from Wining Wife

Well, my friends, there’s a very good reason for this. It turns out that our family is growing! YAY! I’m super excited that Toddler Girl will be a big sister.  And PHEW. There was a good reason for the exhaustion, and once I started paying attention to my iron intake it’s slowly dropping off. This is how we announced it and made things “Facebook official” after we talked to family members and close friends. 

I'm expecting!!!!

What this means, dear readers, is that any wine reviews I post from here until the birth of our new little munchkin will be from notes that I’ve made previously. It also means that I’m going to be talking about plus size maternity clothes and sewing them…and preparing for a whole new person to be born…and other various shenanigans.  And well a bunch of other really good things!  Can you tell I’m excited? I can barely think straight! 

Onto the skirts!

Wearing Kelly's Twirly SkirtsSo whew! That’s really really exciting.  In the midst of all of this exhaustion, I managed to sew a little bit. I did a pattern test for Bella Sunshine Designs (affiliate link), which I think came out really well. I tested both the women’s and the girls’ version of the skirts…and what better way to do it than make skirts that would coordinate with one another? 

The fabric for the skirts

Okay, so I’ll admit that my fabric selection process took a little time. I wasn’t quite sure which fabric I wanted to use – and I had lots of ideas for fabrics that would work. Make. All. The. Skirts. Seriously, sometimes it’s really hard to choose what I’ll use for a project. It doesn’t help that my house is like a giant explosion of fabric right now. (I need to organize it soooooo bad…and don’t get me started on the sewing patterns).  I digress. So I’d used the light blue on white print on a top I made for a Cake Patterns top that I’ll talk about in a future post on here, and I had a lot of it left. It’s a really nice, drapy, pretty fabric, that I thought would have good twirl factor.  I still have a little of it left. It was, as you could guess, one of my thrift store finds. $3. I’m not even kidding. I keep meaning to do a thread test on it, because I suspect that it’s silk jersey. Anyway, so I have a ton of this fabric – what better project than making a couple of circle skirts? 

2015-04-09 19.19.11The problem was, I couldn’t decide what should go underneath. For a little bit, I considered a royal blue velour fabric. Yup. That would have been soooo spectacularly awful, I’m willing to bet. Well, maybe not awful, but not as great as the fabrics I wound up with.  Let’s start with the toddler skirt: the bottom skirt is made out of black stretch velvet from an upcycled dress I had. I’d cut the bottom of the dress off to make myself a skirt. The bottom of my skirt is a vintage (as in 35″) knit fabric in a navy blue. I think it’s polyester. It has really awesome drape itself – and is nice and dark since the top fabric is so lightweight. 

The skirt patterns

*All notes refer to the tester version of this skirt. I do have plans to make another set with the final version of the skirt.*

2015-04-09 19.23.51-1The girls’ pattern has modesty shorts underneath – which is great for a toddler who is always very busy investigating things. The women’s pattern doesn’t, but I don’t have any burning desires to randomly pull my skirt up to investigate the fabric, either. I’ll just admire it in other ways. There are four pieces for the girls’ pattern and three for the adult pattern – shorts legs, bottom circle skirt, top circle skirt, and waistband. The women’s has the layers and the waistband. The patterns include sizes 12 months – 14 for girls and 0-20 for women’s. The 20 fit me a little loose, actually (which was surprising since I thought it would be tight…but that works out well for my purposes anyway! Mwahahahah!); the waist is 41 1/2 ” and hips are 50″ and my measurements at the time were 44″ and 53″. I think part of it is the stretch fabric I used, and given the fact that I want to wear this skirt while pregnant, that’s a good thing!

My little gal is in the 12 months size. She’s a little peanut. She’s so petite! So it was a bit big on her waist as well. I added some elastic tape to the inside of both skirts to help hold it up (it has a yoga-style waistband), and that helped a lot! The skirts were easy to sew – I made both of them in an afternoon. Hemming took a little bit, but it always does on circle skirts.

In the pictures, I’m wearing my grandmother’s cardigan and  a camisole from Old Navy. My shoes are from Rampage. Toddler girl is wearing Circo shirts and Mary Janes that we found at thrift/consignment stores. 

As always, thanks for stopping by! I have good things in store for you soon! 

 

 

Please, Keep Your Insecurities to Yourself

Being a total diva in my dressToday’s post was going to be titled “Versatile Skirt/Dress Made from Sew Cheeky Fabric’s Retro Doodle knit” or something to that effect.  I sewed up this great dress that can also be worn as a knee-length skirt or midi-length skirt depending on my mood. I did it without using a pattern – go me! And wahoo – not only did it come out well – I LOVE it. 

So, I did what any person would do – I had my husband conduct a photo shoot. He’s become quite adept at getting photos of me. And before you think this is a post where I’m saying,  “I don’t look good, build me up,” let me stop you there. I look freaking awesome in this dress/skirt. We had a lot of fun. I felt like such a goof coming up with my props – but I LOVE how the pictures come out. I look beautiful, and very diva-like in the dress, fun and playful in the knee-length skirt, and cute in the midi-length skirt. I was stoked, and I posted the pictures on my personal Facebook page. 

Now, I’m well-past the age where I need outside validation to know that I look good/that I’m cool/ that whatever. I couldn’t give a flying rat’s hind end whether someone likes me or something I make. So that’s not why I’m writing this now. I’m writing this because there are many other women – those who never take pictures with their kids  (and many who are far smaller than I), those who starve themselves even though there’s no weight left to lose, those struggling with medical issues of very sorts, and those who have had lifelong struggles with weight and body image – there are ALL KINDS OF WOMEN who might post something similar, and who, instead of standing up for themselves, may delete the images they’ve posted, and retreat into the background, hiding their body from further criticism or comment.

So what was the “offending” thing that happened when I shared my fabulous sewn creation?  Someone, a person I’ve not met in person, but whom I know through another person close to me, took it upon herself to recommend that I “like” a Facebook page dedicated to low carb and high protein eating. 

You know? I’d already had so many “likes” on my pictures and posts across the places I’d shared. I get that posting pictures of myself full-bodied and confident does open me up to possible criticism, and I’m good with that. It wasn’t even that such a suggestion hurt my feelings. No, it pissed me off. 

You see, there are a lot of assumptions with a recommendation like that. One is that I don’t like how I am currently. Another is that I want advice on my weight that my doctor couldn’t give me (my doctors have never mentioned my size as a concern to them, by the way. That’s because on paper, I am extremely healthy, healthier than I was, actually, when I was 22 years old and a size 00 would hang loosely from my bony, too-thin body. By the way, when I was that tiny? People kept telling me to eat a sandwich. Sigh. Is a woman’s weight EVER off the table for others to comment on?). A third, more shady assumption is that I just couldn’t possibly actually be happy with my body the way it is.

Here’s the thing, though. I think that this person meant well. She probably really thought she was “helping” me. I think it was coming from a place of her own insecurities. It was a way of her saying “If I were your size, I’d want to look for this solution.”

However, I rather like my body. Here are many reasons why I like this body I have.

  1. I’m a corporeal being. I rather like having a body. If I didn’t, I don’t know that I’d exist. I mean maybe I would be chillin’ in the spiritual realm watching over my family, but my body allows me to do things. I can interact with the world around me. 
  2. My body has nurtured life, twice. It is the body belonging to the mother of my two, very awesome children.
  3. This body has allowed me to build houses with Habitat for Humanity. 
  4. This body has allowed me to hug those who needed hugs – even strangers who were hurting.
  5. This body is STRONG. 
  6. This body has completed several 5K races. While I haven’t participated in one since Little Miss was born, it’s something I want to do again to help raise money for various causes.
  7. This body allows me to get from point A to point B. 
  8. This body survived domestic violence, emotional abuse, and other trauma.
  9. etc.

The list goes on and frankly, you don’t need to know the reasons why i love my body the way it is. You need to know the reasons you love your body the way it is. It’s uniquely yours. It allows you to do all the things you enjoy doing. You, dear reader, are beautiful. I know that sounds like mumbo jumbo hippy feel good crap – but it’s true. We get so caught up in what everyone else thinks or might think or may possibly think about us, that it’s hard to see ourselves through all of that. 

My husband is my photographer (every once in a while Tiger Boy will step in and take a picture or two in his place). That means, the person on the other side of the camera is someone who loves me and who thinks I’m absolutely beautiful as. I. am.  When he takes photos, and I look through them, it’s kind of like seeing myself through his eyes – particularly when I go through the photos and he comments on the ones he likes. Even without him, in those times I try to capture selfies, I find that I rather like what I see – a lot of the time. Now, I’m not perfect. There are times when I don’t feel so great. There are times when someone suggesting a weight loss page could really sting… and that’s why I’m writing this.

In a world where so many women do not take photos with their children because they’re “too fat” or have a pimple or aren’t dressed right, why the HELL would anyone be so stupid and irresponsible as to recommend such a page to any woman who did not specifically ask for advice on weight loss methods or diets? Would you say to someone’s face, “Oh hey, have you heard of Weight Watchers”, right after she said to you, “Look at this fabulous dress I made! I feel so great in it!”? 

On that note, I’ll say to you, look at this fabulous dress/skirt I created. I love it, it’s comfortable, and I think I look amazing in it – especially when I’m wearing it as a dress. I made it using So Cheeky Fabric’s Retro Doodles. I was sent a yard of the fabric’s strike off to review. It was really easy to sew with, it’s stretchy in a good way,  I didn’t use a pattern. Instead, I made it based off my waist and hip measurements (and incidentally my upper bust is the same). I cut the waistband out and sewed it up and hemmed it. It was a really quick sew – partially because I kept the “pattern” simple, but also because the fabric is both beautiful and easy to work with. Here it is. I have three different “looks” I created, and I was goofing off in the back yard while hubby was taking pictures. 

Look 1: “Saturday Morning Farmer’s Market” 

The sweater is Old Navy, tank top is from Gap, shoes are Monolo Blahnik.

Look 2: Coffee Shop Bookworm

Okay, so I’m not *in* a coffee shop. But still 😛 Top is oh gosh, I don’t know. I think I got it from Kohls years upon years ago. The shoes here are also older, I think from Target, actually. The sweater is super-vintage. I’ve had it since I was 16. It belonged to my grandmother before then. There’s one more “look” after this, and you don’t want to miss it.

Look 3: Full-on DIVA

My favorite. The cardigan is older, from Fashion Bug (I actually got it and a couple of tops and some jeans after doing a fashion show as a plus-sized model several years back while still in grad school). The shoes are Gucci.

And so, my lovelies, keep on keeping on. I’m going to head off and snuggle a cute baby. 

Bow Back Beauty by Little Kiwi’s Closet

Little Kiwi's Closet Bow Back BeautyRecently, I had the opportunity to test out Little Kiwi’s Closet Bow Back Beauty. I was assigned to make 2 bodysuit options in the 6-12 month size. I chose a smaller size, because Little Miss is tiny! She’s such a peanut. I figured, based upon the measurements that it would fit better than the twelve month size, and I was right.

Originally, I had planned on sewing with fabrics I’d had in my stash, however, Wining Husband and I made a trip to our local Salvation Army. While we were there, I saw a great red and cream print shirt. I knew that shirt had to be upcycled into this little project. I found a matching cream cardigan, and grabbed those. The second option with long sleeves was made from upcycled turtlenecks snagged during the same trip. 

Sewing the Bow Back Beauties

I eagerly cut up the shirts so that I had my pattern pieces, and I began assembling the bodysuits. They have envelope necklines – which aren’t too tricky, but you do want to make sure you baste well and sew slowly over the bindings that are meant to be tucked under the sleeve fronts. It’s a great advanced beginner/intermediate pattern, and while I think that a beginner could handle it, I think a little experience with a project or two beforehand would be beneficial. 

Always, always, always change your needles

GAAHHHH!!!!I’m a bit of a fanatic about this, generally, and I was changing my needles – but the knits I used for this required a 65 instead of the usual 75 ballpoint I have on hand. After running out to get the proper needles for the project, I solved the problem in the picture you see to the left. Seriously, a new ballpoint in a smaller size was all it took to keep me from screaming at my machine in a rage fit.

Long sleeve one-piece shirt with peplum

The first bodysuit I made used two turtlenecks – one had blue, gray, silver glitter, and pink stripes, the other was a pink that matched the stripes. I really love how this came out.The fit, even though it’s a 6-12 month is a little loose in the back – but honestly, I like the way that the back drapes on her. When she sits, it pulls taught, but in a comfortable way. Like I said, the most difficult part of this pattern is sewing the sleeves on. When it came time to attach the peplum to the bodysuit (when I tested, the alternate instructions were not available yet), I put the bodysuit on Little Miss, and then marked about where I wanted the peplum to sit. I the removed it, turned the peplum inside out, and slid it onto the bodysuit upside down, so that the edge of the peplum lined up just under my mark. I pinned it in place, stretched the suit slightly to align with the skirt, and voilà, done. I hung it up and noticed that somehow, somewhere, my stripes on the peplum moved and were off-center. Because you know how much I LOOOOOOVE seam ripping, I decided that I was okay with the off-center look and that a flower would go above it. Perfect. Love the way this one turned out. (More about bodysuit 2 after the image gallery)

Bodysuit # 2 – red and tan

This bodysuit was much more of a challenge. The fabrics I used were really slinky and slippery. Originally, I thought I’d leave the peplum off on this one. I cut it anyway “just in case.” Because I was upcycling shirts, I accidentally cut the circle across a seam – even though I’d checked it three times to be sure that wasn’t the case.  So…I did what anyone would do when I decided that I did, indeed , want the peplum. I cut the seam off, following the curve of the other side. I also was going to do arm bands on a sleeveless version – but, I decided that it wanted short sleeves. In fact, it needed short sleeves, so that’s what I did. I placed the peplum on with the shorter part on one side, and the longer on the other, so it would create a waterfall effect. For the pictures, I styled it over a Joe Fresh tutu and with Converse baby sneakers. I LOVE both so much. I’m already thinking about doing a third – the full dress version with the high low skirt that comes in Little Kiwi’s Closet’s Bow Back Beauty pattern. The pattern is for sizes NB-14. Designer Lydia Persson really amazes me with her talent.

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