And one for me

I always feel compelled to sew something to wear at Quilt Market. I’m not quite sure why that is, but I’m inevitably sitting at the sewing machine a few days before I leave, trying to make a new garment for the occasion.

May’s Quilt Market in Minneapolis was no exception. I’d had the Out & About Dress from Sew Caroline on my list for a while, and the fabric was already washed and ready to cut. Because this was my first time making this pattern, I pulled out some odd cuts of leftover knits and mocked up the bodice to check the fit, adding just a hair to the bodice bottom to move the waistline a little closer to my actual waist. Perfect on the first try!

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I modified the skirt portion of the dress to be more of an A-line rather than gathered to the waist. I think the style just works better for my shape.

Sarah talked me into using this Robert Kaufman print of multicolor mustaches instead of the polka dot fabric I’d first picked up. I really love the Laguna jersey and this fabric is really no crazier than any of my funky leggings, so I went for it.

I’m happy with how it turned out and can’t wait for the weather to cool off in the fall so I can wear it again.

Dragoncon 2012: The End

Welcome to the ongoing geeky adventures of the Craft Addict! Yes, more Dragoncon sewing but I think you’ll like this one.

My lovely friend Meredith made a passing comment on the Book of Faces one day about sewing a Star Wars pin-up dress with some sheets she’d bought. The shop had recently gotten in some awesome Star Wars fabric so of course I had to use that comment as inspiration for my own geeky dress.

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If you’re going to be at a convention in Atlanta in the summer, a halter dress is pretty much going to be one of the most comfortable things you can wear. I am beyond happy with how this dress turned out, even though certain parts of it made me want to cuss.

The dress is a modified version of Simplicity 2401. I omitted the straps and lengthened the top of the bodice pieces to make a continuous strap around the back of the neck. I also added darts on the bodice sides to improve the fit of the “cups.” But the biggest modification I made was one that could have been handled differently had I followed my own advice: Make a muslin.

To be fair, I did make a muslin of the bodice portion of theĀ  dress. Where I went astray was in thinking I didn’t need to worry about the skirt. For some reason, I though the skirt was more of an A-line than it actually is — and that resulted in a too-tight dress that looked utterly awful on me.

Fortunately, I had just enough fabric left to cut a third panel for both the front and the back of the dress. After copious amounts of unsewing (including picking out serged seams), I inserted the panels, gathered the top of the skirt to the bodice and a new favorite dress was made. A petticoat underneath adds just the right amount of “oomph.”

And did I mention it has pockets?

I’ve had some random invisible zipper issues with this dress and still need to rip out this zipper and install a new one (which will make the fourth one). But the fit is perfect and it’s super comfortable, too. Not to mention super geeky.

My weekend wasn’t just about wearing cool costumes, though. I also spent a few hours as a panelist with the Costuming Track. Let me tell you, it was one of the most awesome experiences ever. I sat on four different panels: Fabrics & Embellishments, Practical Costuming, From 2D to 3D, and Pattern Drafting Basics. Some of the coolest, most talented people imaginable were seated on those panels and dorky Mary was right there with them. It was surreal! I mean, it’s not every day that you get to hang out with RJ Haddy of SyFy’s Face Off. Well, maybe you do but I don’t. And the room was so full for most of my panels. I wasn’t really paying attention (I was trying to make sure I stayed on topic!) but my awesome Honey did and he was impressed with the crowds.

So many people came up to me during the course of the weekend to tell me how much they enjoyed the panels or thank me for some bit of information I passed on. It just really blew me away. Honestly, I am so lucky to be able to do what I do and getting the chance to pass that along to other people is one of my favorite parts of my job.

Of course, bumping into Dean Cain at Starbucks and having him tell you the Supergirl costume you made your daughter is great is pretty cool, too.

Yep, Dragoncon was pretty awesome this year.

ModKid Sew-a-thon

There’s nothing like having your child go to her grandparents’ house to inspire you to sew. And, boy, did I take advantage of the free time. I’m still having a blast cranking out pieces from Patty’s new book, Sewing ModKid Style:

A bouquet of Bloom dressesA bouquet of Bloom dresses, some with coordinating leggings

Yoga shorts/pantsStretchy and fab Yoga Pants and Shorts

A few years ago I went on a knit-buying binge — and then never did anything with the fabric. Man, is it fun to “shop” in my own stash! I wish I could share info about all these fabrics. I believe the bird print and matching orange solid came from Joann. And I think the pink/white/green stripe is Chez Ami. The rest? Not a clue.
Bloom dresses

I’ve made the Bloom dress several different ways now: With self-binding neck and sleeves, stitched hem, lettuce hem and sleeves, fold-over elastic binding. Miss L is a big fan of the “ruffles” aka lettuce hem and will request it if I ask her opinion. I’m really digging the FOE and am thisclose to trying some stretch lace trims now that they are in stock at my LQS.

For reference, L is 44.4 pounds and 3’11.75″ tall and I’m making her the size 4 in width and size 6 length for both the dress and the leggings.

The yoga pants look like the perfect item to throw on over gymnastics leotards, so I had to make some of them, too. The aqua is a cotton/Lycra blend from SpandexWorld.com and I had plenty of fabric to make both the pants and shorts from it. For my first attempt, I cut the size 4 with the size 6 length. They are supposed to be snug but I think it’s a little too snug for my taste. I used my coverstitch (Janome CoverPro 900CP) for the hems.

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The third pair I made with a lighter weight knit that obviously has some spandex in it, although I’m not sure of the blend (I picked it up at a local fabric warehouse for $2/yd). These are a size 6 in width and a 10 in length and I think the sizing is spot on.

This one got some embroidery, a sweet lotus and butterfly design from Emblibrary.com, part of my commitment to using all the things in my arsenal. I also used the coverstitch on the hem of these but stitched it so the chain would be on the outside. Oh my! Love!

Suffice it to say, I’m loving the book and can’t wait to make more from it. I’ve already picked up some swimwear fabric and keep eyeing the rest of my knit stash, trying to decide what to use next.

Rosie+Isabel

I fell in love with Rosie‘s fabrics for Lecien when I saw them in Houston last October. I’ve never made my love for all things Melly & Rosie a secret, so it’s likely not a surprise that I could not wait to get my grubby, needs-a-manicure hands on some of this yummy fabric.

Which is why it’s taken me three months to finally buy some.

OK, not really. The real reason is that 1) I’ve been incredibly wrapped up in The Project to the point that I’ve had no time — or interest — for personal sewing and 2) I try to know what I’m going to make with a fabric before I buy it because my tendency is to collect and I try to keep that from happening.

Whew!

After a nearly three-month break from sewing (with only a couple of exceptions), I finally regained my focus and was ready to dive into Grandmother’s Flower Garden. Luckily for me, Sarah had recently received a shipment of the new ModKid sewing patterns. In no time at all, I’d grabbed the Isabel, a couple of bolts of fabric and was picturing the results in my head.

The two main prints I used are from Rosie’s line (or range, as those Aussies call it) but I pulled a great polka dot from Henry Glass to accent. Polka dots just make me happy and I love using them with anything and everything!

Miss L was a little skeptical about the dress when I showed her the pattern and fabrics but she quickly came around after it was sewn. I did make a couple of goofs while sewing but nothing I can’t live with. When you take a crack at it, make sure you really pay attention to sewing around the straps so they come out nice and even, with pretty points. And look at the stitching diagram of the pocket before you sew it so the little swoop at the bottom retains its shape. Patty does such a great job of making sure the instructions are clear and complete, so I really have no one but myself to blame.

I’m loaning the dress to the shop until the weather warms up, so you can check it out in person if you’re in the Atlanta area. And I’ve got some more Grandmother’s Flower Garden sewing on the agenda next week with a quilt that also is destined for the shop. First, though, I need to finish sketching it out and making sure I have all the measurements right before I cut it.

Summer Whites

It’s taken me a while to get around to sewing the Portabello Pixie Analise but I finally got to it this week and whipped up a sweet summery dress for Miss L.

I picked up the fabric from Joann’s after fondling it over the course of several trips to thte store. (Don’t act like you don’t do the same thing.) I bought it even though I wasn’t quite sure what I’d do with it, although I had an inkling that it would make a lovely dress. It’s a little tough to see here but the fabric is criss-crossing pintucks with criss-crossing pieces of white lace. (Here’s a close up.) Just a very sweet and feminine fabric.

I lucked out in buying yardage for this dress. Seriously. I had just enough to make it. Although I did use a plain white Egyptian cotton for the straps (also for the bodice lining). I just thought that would be more comfortable than the lace right against her skin. (See the back of the dress here.)

One thing I didn’t realize about the fabric until it was too late: the lace is polyester. Which meant my very hot iron melted it when I was pressing one piece. Fortunately, it was a very small area that’s pretty much hidden, but definitely something I paid attention to during the rest of the garment construction process.

I skipped adding a binding to the hem and just did a minimal turned hem for it. If I weren’t so lazy, I probably would have done a hem facing (and French seams) because the fabric really seems to call for more of an heirloom-sewing approach. But I really wanted to get it done so I took the easy way out.

The finished dress will be perfect to wear to her brother’s high school graduation in a couple of weeks, and then maybe for some other special days this summer (don’t ask me what; I have no clue). And maybe for her very late 4-year portraits …

More Fall Dresses

I’ve been having lots of fun with Katie‘s Round-Neck Top pattern, which includes directions for making it into a dress. It just sews up so quickly and wears easily for my little preschooler.

While my previous corduroy incarnation included pockets, the dress on the left does not yet have them and I’m still waffling. Oh, but I do love it in that soft baby cord! I used two prints I found at Joann’s, a black-with-white polka dots and a cute Forest Friends print. Just so stinkin’ cute! I think I may need to make a purse for myself with those little animals!

The dress on the right features Michael Miller’s Pod Posey fabrics. It was love at first fondle with that bold border print, and I had just enough of the scattered flowers to make the neckbands. If you look closely at her right shoulder, you can see the safety pin holding the strap closed. My darling daughter decided to rip off the button, for no reason at all. Little nut.

Lots more to show but that requires pictures and will have to wait until Monday, since Honey and I are headed to Dragon*con tomorrow. And that, my friends, will require a post and photo album all it’s own.