What Have I Been Up To?

Thanks for all the pick me ups on the last post.  I am glad you gals didn’t feel like I was slacking on the craftiness.  I know that is what you come for 🙂

So the new year has brought a bit of crafty confusion at here Chez Peacock Chic.  I used to pride myself on being a finisher.   I would start something and get it done quickly before starting on something new.  That kept this blog hoppin with finished projects for all of you to enjoy.

Now I am fully mired in startitis.  Too my crafts, so little time.  So I will give you a quick run down of what I have been up to with the hopes of actually finishing some of it sooner or later :O)

My Obama Girl Necklace

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I made this little necklace with my neice for inauguration day.  It was inspired by a post over on Threadbangers.  A little photoshop, some shrinky dink, and spray paint made it all come together in just a few short hours.  Her necklace was a hit at school that day.  Score one for Auntie No! (my nickname because I am notorious for saying “no”)

Embroidery

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After finishing up my crewel project I have been obsessed with embroidery.  Once I saw the japanese books over on Cauchy09’s post I went to the Kinokuniya in my area and bought two books!!!  These have more detailed embroidery projects so this is gonna be a while in the making, but it is fun.

Chinese Lace Pullover

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Yup, still working on this…little by little.  I already finished the front and this is the nearly completed back.  According to my Ravelry stats, I started this back in SEPTEMBER!! Normally this would bring out great fiber shame and I would have to commit harakiri on my knitting needles.  But really with work and all the other crafty temptations at hand, I am just happy to get this far.

Gretel

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I have been wanting to make the Gretel hat since I won the contest for Elijah.  Finally I just casted on and I am in love!!  This has definitely trumped all other crafts right now because I need to finish quick in order to wear it before the cold weather goes away in So Cal which is not far at all.

Anyway, that is the UFO round up.  Hope to talk to you gals again soon!

Finished Object: Peace Tree

Framed

Pattern: Peace Tree from The New Crewel
Materials: Kona Cotton fabric; DMC 2 ply crewel wool #8341 and #418
Techniques: Lots and lots of satin stitch, split stitch border

So one of my bestest friends brought me The New Crewel for Christmas last year off my Amazon wishlist.  I loved this book but never got around to making anything from it.  About June I went to my local needlework store and bought the supplies which quickly got stashed away in the pile of other things to do.  Finally after taking an embroidery workshop at Felt Club and seeing the gorgeous work of cauchy09 on Flickr I knew I was hooked.

Crossing Trees from New Crewel

I actually started on the sampler from the book, but what I really wanted was all the beautiful designs that drew me in the first place so unlike me I forewent the practice stage and dove into the Peace Tree pattern.  It was fairly quick and a good learning experience for satin stitch.  I got a little better at my blending to change direction once I read more of the instructions (eh hem…I would have know this if I finished the sampler…).

Crossing Trees from New Crewel - Blocking

I blocked the work the traditional way as described in the book to get it nice and straight or at least as straight as possible because I noticed later that my outline work is a little crooked…woops!

The Quote

Next I framed it using an Ikea frame and added a quote by John Muir to the bottom to break up the vast white space.  Many pieces of paper went up in flames trying to get this paper burning right, but this one got my stamp of approval

Peacock Chic Label

which resides on the back of the frame, stamped in permanent stamping ink.

Lastly, I leave you with just a perfect picture I snapped during my picture taking session.  It is perfect because it shows both my trees and the real trees of nature. It definitely brought me some peace and made the quote all that more befitting. 🙂

Framed

“Tug on anything at all and you’ll find it connected to everything else in the universe”

-John Muir

Finished Object: Wee Wonderful Pig

Wee Wonderful Pig

Isn’t he cute! That is what I thought when I saw this little piggy on Wee Wonderful last year.   This little piggy was the first Christmas item I made and was actually finished before I even had the Christmas tree decorated!

Pattern: Wee Wonderful Pig

Fabric Used: Cheapy craft felt

Notions Used: Buttons

Pattern Alterations: None

The Good:

  • Yet another free pattern from a very generous blogger – Wee Wonderful.
  • Super easy, super quick, super cute!
  • It is a pretty sizable ornament so there people won’t miss all the handiwork you put into it.

Wee Wonderful Pig

  • I didn’t buy anything for this project…not even the super cute buttons that were used on the original.  Instead I used felt for the eyes which came out pretty good.

The Bad:

  • Finding the box/mint tin/boxy bottom thing to make the cart.  I ended up dumping out my t-pins just to use the box 🙂

The Ugly:

  • This is actually the second piggy I made.  The first one looked like the Frankenstein monster because I used larger, evenly space stitches.  I didn’t look THAT bad until I stuffed it and looked at what a crappy job I did.  The trick? Patience along with  small, closely spaces stitching.

Finished Object: Amy Butler Snow Mum Pillow

Snow Mum Pillow

So the Amy Butler Christmas crafting continued with her Snow Mum Pillow pattern.  I loved all the wintery white goodness and had to have this pillow.  I mean the flower alone is gorgeous but as a big snuggle pillow it made it a HAVE to have.  I will be making the flower again and making it a lapel pin at some point with this gorgeous fuchsia wool I have hanging around, but that will have to be another post.  For now, enjoy the details of the pillow.

Pattern: Amy Butler Snow Mum Pillow

Fabric Used: Snuggle Flannel from Joann

Notions Used: HeatBond Ultrahold, button from my stash

Pattern Alterations: Used flannel instead of wool felt and used heatbond ultra hold instead of wonderunder. 16″ instead of 18″ pillow.

The Good:

  • Yet ANOTHER FREE pattern (pdf link) from Amy Butler’s website.  She really has been giving away some wonderful patterns this season
  • I love the snuggly goodness of the flannel I used.  I thought about using the wool felt but wanted something cheaper and more warm and snuggly which brought flannel to mind
  • This pattern is very simple but super elegant when finished.

Snow Mum Pillow Flower

  • I like the button I added because it breaks up the expanse of white just enough and it shines when the sun hits it bringing attention to the pillow.

The Bad:

  • This isn’t a bad as much as an informational addition.  I didn’t use the wonderunder because I already had this heatbond ultrahold NO SEW iron on adhesive already at home.  I didn’t even think about it being no sew until I had used and cut the  pieces.  I went ahead anyway because I figured if a machine can sew through leather it should be able to handle this.  I was right!  I result was a firmer flower petal I think but it adds to the texture in my opinion

Snow Mum Pillow

  • I did have to use a few more petals on the second to last ring.  The pattern calls for 12 small petals but I ended up using 14 because it seemed a bit sparse for me.  Then I added one more inner ring of 4 small petals.
  • I was so happy to use the 18″ pillow form I had lying around naked and needing a cover, but when I saw the beautiful flower on that huge pillow that also swallowed up my chair, I opted to downsize to a 16″ pillow.  I think it gives just enough room on the pillow without losing the flower.

The Ugly:

Snow Mum Pillow

  • Do you remember how I said wool felt is the mother of all cat hair collectors?  Well, flannel is the daughter.  I was so amped by the finish of my tree skirt that I just wanted to get this project started.  I wanted another color of flannel or felt and there just isn’t that much selection that would match my house without trying to overdye it so I went with a slightly off white.  So far the kitties haven’t paid it any mind so it might be safe afterall 🙂

Finished Object: Amy Butler Tree Skirt

Amy Butler Tree Skirt

Last year was all about Christmas crafting for others, this year is about Christmas crafting for the house.  I was all set to get my fix with felted ornaments but when I saw the gorgeous patterns that Amy Butler put up for Christmas on her website for FREE,  I knew I had to make at least one of them.  Although you can’t see it an any of these pictures I have a bit of a Charlie Brown Tree, not very full and obviously fake, but I love it anyway, especially with the addition of Christmas Tree scent 🙂 .  What I didn’t love was the fake snow blanket that surrounded it every year.  Now at least the bottom of my tree looks like a million bucks!

Pattern: Amy Butler Tree Skirt

Fabric Used:

Trim – Michael Miller Pod Ditz

Inner Fabric – Quilted Fabric from JoAnn’s

Lining Fabric – New Chick on the Block’s Ever Changing Shapes

Notions Used: 1.5″ covered buttons

Pattern Alterations: Used quilted fabric instead of wool felt, used 1.5″ buttons instead of 2.5″, no interfacing

The Good:

  • Another wonderful FREE…yes…FREE pattern by Amy Butler (pdf link)
  • I liked the fact that I used the quilted fabric instead of the wool felt for a few reasons.  One – I was dreaming of a quilted tree skirt for some time and was happy to find this fabric at JoAnn’s.  Two – I am cheap and wool felt is kinda expensive, Three – I didn’t have to interface that huge piece of fabric because it is quite thick already, and  Four – My cats love sleeping under the tree and felt is the mother of all cat hair collectors.

Amy Butler Tree Skirt Amy Butler Tree Skirt

  • I love the reversibility of the tree skirt.  One side is a little more subdued, the other is kinda funky.  It lends itself to having quite a lot of versatility through the years
  • For some reason, I just loved how you cut out the inner fabric using the pin in the center and then using the string to mark your perfect circle.  Geeky…yes I know.

The Bad:

Amy Butler Tree Skirt

  • Pay attention because the lining fabric calls for 54″ wide fabric.  54″ was not readily available at my quilting shop and my piece was already cut by the time I figured this out.  So I asked her to cut another .5 yards.  Which was lucky because I needed it cut just like that, because you are going for width not length.  I simply pieced the fabric to the sides to make it wide enough to accommodate the circle.  It worked out quite nice especially because I don’t have a directional fabric.

Amy Butler Tree Skirt

  • 2.5″ covered buttons!  Once again, not readily available in my circle of craft shops so I opted for 1.5″ and used 5 instead of 4.

The Ugly:

Amy Butler Tree Skirt Amy Butler Tree Skirt

  • Interface the button loops?!  Ok, this was frustrating because I used a woven interfacing to interface these pieces the first time.  Then tried to gather…way too thick, broke both gathering threads.  I then tried a very thin non-woven interfacing…still no dice.  It took all my strength to cinch the tiniest bit.  I then tried no interfacing at all and it was still a bit of a challenge but actually worked that time.

All in all a wonderful project and I highly recomment spicing up the tree with this beauty!

Peacock Collection ’08: New Look 6648

Hand on hips pose

Flutter sleeves!  I was and still am obsessed with flutter sleeves so when I saw this pattern I had to have it.  All the while I had this gorgeous yellow green fabric that I picked up at M&L that had to find the perfect pattern.  Together they made this really fun top.  Although you can’t really see it in this picture, I wore it with a plum/purple tank underneath.  I was loving this combination!  I truly felt like a peacock with such vibrant colors.

Pattern: New Look 6648, View C

Pattern Description: Easy tops with gathered waistbands – 3 variations

Pattern Sizing: 6-16.  I upsized the pattern to 18 but probably didn’t need to.

Fabric Used: 1 7/8 cheapy t-shirt fabric from M&L

Notions Used: none

Pattern Alterations: None really… except lapping the fronts more than stated in pattern.

The Good:

  • I love this fabric color.  I love that my skin tone allows me to where just about any color that would make others look sickly. It just make me feel good all day
  • The pattern worked up quick without much fuss at all.
  • Love the ruched band at the bottom.  This alone will require that I make one of each of the other 3 versions with the exception of view B which just doesn’t do it for me.

The wing

  • The shape of these sleeve on this version.  I knew that it would flutter in just the right ways…and I was right!

The Bad:

  • I upsized this pattern based on the bust size measurements to an 18 (40″ bust) but probably would have been just fine with the 16.  The waistband increase was definitely a must for my ample hips.
  • The necklines on these shirts are for Paul Bunyan shoulders because they are huge.  I saw this warning on patternreview for the boat neck version but thought I could compensate with the crossover version.  However, when I got excessive with the overlap the back neckline would gape.  It is not horrible but this shirt is definitely adjustable, meaning I am toying with it throughout the day to make sure it looks right and not showing too much bra/tank strap, but it does look cute…just could be cute and less fussy.

The ruching

  • It is hard to take pictures of these type of sleeves without resulting to the double hands on hips pose so I tried to spice it up a little to show you some other angles 🙂
  • You definitely have to wear a tank underneath this version.  Not only for the crossover being quite deep, but also the width of those sleeves will show all your girls if you are reaching too far.
  • I had to tack down the overlap to make it a little less fussy.  However, this is actually something I normally do on overlap shirts.  Actually this probably means I need to look into some mock overlap designs…

The Ugly:

  • None… really except for that damn neckline issue.  So instead I give you my voodoo picture! Why? ’cause I was feeling quite bad winged and evil during my timer pictures and I think this one is hella funny.

Voodoo

Yooouuuu willl make this patttternnnnn!!!!

Can you feel it?  If yes…

Yooouuuu willl leavvveee a comment toooo!!!

Hee hee 😀

Have a good weekend!!

Finished Object: Moonstitches Owls by Peacock Chic

This pattern has been on my to do list for quite a while.  I really loved them but never really had a reason to make them.  I don’t really like having useless knickknacks and despite their cuteness they did not serve a purpose.  However, during my knit fabric class someone had mentioned pattern weights to keep down the fabric and pattern in lieu of pins.  I saw one girl take out some rather pricey, generic, looking sandbag things and I thought, ” Hey I could make a cuter weight than that!”  Hence my swarm of Moonstitches Owls!

Pattern: Moonstitches Owls from her Tutowlrial

Fabric Used: Various Wools and Canvas

Notions Used: buttons…lots and lots of buttons, rice, and polyfill

Pattern Alterations: I made small and big ones!

The Good:

  • They are ridiculously cute!
  • They use so little fabric that all sorts of fabric scraps can be used up
  • I found this template to use for shape and size so I didn’t really have to guess at all
  • They work up quick and are very easy to do.  The assembly line process is highly recommended if you are making quite a few.  Otherwise it probably takes about 10-15 minutes to make one of these once you get the hang of it.

The Bad:

  • The template I used produced the little owls.  Although cute, I needed something a little bigger for my intended use so I scaled up by about another 50% which got me the larger owls
  • When sewing down the nose I went a little too far and tacked it down about mid stomach.  I should have placed it higher which would give you a taller, less squat owl.  Because they were so squatty I couldn’t put the letters that i wanted to stamp on each one.  Ahh well.

The Ugly:

  • I obviously lost my mind when I thought to make 17+ owls.  Now I didn’t realize how crazy I was until I had finished all the quick sewing and got into the hand work.  17 embroidered noses, 17 hand stitched bases, and 34 hand sewn buttons later I was pooped…surprising I still like them 🙂

PICTURE GALLERY


Peacock Collection ’08: Burdastyle Franzi Vest

Pattern: Burdastyle Franzi Vest

Pattern Description: Cropped Lined Vest

Pattern Sizing: Size 34-44, I upsized to a 46 and petited the pattern using BWOF measurements

Fabric Used: A woven with stretch and poly for the lining

Notions Used: 3/4″ buttons

Pattern Alterations: Petite Alterations, left out the faux pockets

The Good:

  • I love Love LOVE this vest.  I have already worn it two times and need to make more shirts that match it so that I can wear it even more.
  • This pattern was easy peasy despite the fact that it took me forever to finish because of my need for the perfect buttons

  • Speaking of perfect buttons, I searched high and low for buttons and finally just settled with the buttons I have.  However, I was not in love with them until they accidentally fell over upside down on my vest and I saw the near shimmery, near perfect color match on the underside.  BINGO!! So the secret is…turn over those buttons, you never know what you will get 🙂

  • The pattern is FREE!!!  Gotta love free and the gracious nature of the Burdastyle designers.  I think the fit and sizing is almost, if not exactly, the same as BWOF.  I know I petited a cropped vest, but if I hadn’t it would have really hung low on me like a real vest.

  • I like my contrasting topstitching and the turned out lapel.  I contemplated not turning out the lapel and going with the more subdued gray but then I realized that this was a cropped vest so showmanship is the way to go.  I think it really makes the vest

The Bad

  • My lining fabric was a little hard to work with, nothing major, just had to really pay attention to not snagging or running the fabric while sewing.

  • Bust darts.  I really hate pointy bust darts.  I used to think it was my sewing ability and would sew and resew in the hopes of the point going away.  However, this I stumbled on this tutorial and I thought OHHH Duh!  I am still working on getting them right but practice hopefully makes perfect.
  • The roll line on my lapel was a bit of a pain because I did not mark it at all because I wasn’t planning on turning out the lapels.  Not a biggy at all.

The Ugly:

  • That this vest has thrown be into a vest spiral.  I have to make more MORE I TELL YOU!!  More of these and more of others.  I have a slew of patterns to get to.  I hope this vest craze does not die out too soon 🙂

P.S. If you haven’t figured it out yet, you can always tell how much I love a project by how many pictures I take.  I figure it is more temptation for you to make it 😀

Peacock Collection: Camellia

All this talk about knit fabric, I am sure some of you are saying, well hell….WHERE IS THE KNITTING?!  Well admittedly it has been few and far between lately.  I have had so many knitting fiascos and generally uninteresting projects that they have all but fallen by the wayside in 2008.  This little ditty is was actually started in February this year!  I had such high hopes for this lovely lovely sweater.  Now I am just glad it is done.

Yarn: Rowan Calmer
Inspiration: Kate Gilbert Camellia
Needles:
Size 5 needles for body and lace, size 6 needles for neckline, size 8 needles for armholes
Yardage: 5 balls
Modifications: Left off the flutter sleeves and used garter stitch for the armholes
Enjoyment Factor:
4
Knit Time: 7 months!! yeesh

The Good:

  • It is done…and not in the garbage.
  • The pattern is very nice.  I was so excited to get this pattern when I saw it previewed on Kate Gilbert’s site that I happened to be up at 1 a.m. on Ravelry and accidentally stumbled on and bought the pattern a week or two before it was officially released.  I was so very excited by this little Ravelry glitch that I cast on that night.  It was the happiest point in this project.
  • I love the lace details at the top and bottom of the top
  • The V neck is just right to bring a little va va va voom to the top
  • Calmer is nice to wear

The Bad:

  • Holy CRAP!! I hate this top.  Not the outcome, just the effort.
  • I had some trouble with the lace pattern.  It was an error in the chart but was fixed before it was officially released to everyone.  Nothing big, just left me stumped for a bit.
  • MIIIIIIIILLLLLLLLEEEESSSSSSS of stockinette.  I knew this and was okay with it becuase it was my in the car,  Costa Rica trip knitting.  However, I forgot that I would have to continue the stockinette monologue when I got home.  Not so fun.
  • My yarn choice was horrible!! I thought I would like knitting with Calmer but I actually think it feels like a wet dishcloth the majority of the time, especially during blocking.  It is also a  cotton was elastic in it which I thinkwas great for the body of the top but was horrible for the sleeves.
  • I have decided that i don’t like curling lace patterns a the bottom of garments.  Just a new pet peeve of mine.

The Ugly:

  • The reason I bought this pattern was for the sleeves.  The reason I hate this pattern is for the sleeves.  Notice that there are none.  That is because the Calmer has no real drape which is a prerequisite for the flutter or cap sleeve on the pattern to look good.  After knitting and attaching the cap sleeve, I realized that I looked like a linebacker!  They stood out like they had starch in them.  On top of that I attached them weirdly and they were kinda lopsided.  That is when the top went on hiatus
  • Sleeves part two, the garter stitch finish – So I thought I would just leave the sleeves unfinished but the yarn was just not having it.  The sleeves curled in and looked like a razorback from the back of the garment.  As much as I hated investing anymore work in this top, I knew I had to add an edging.  6 attempts later, I finally got a finish that was neither too tight nor too baggy.  They still aren’t perfect but one more failed attempt and this top would have been history.

Peacock Collection: Butterick 4347

Since we started the Finished Object Parade talking about my knit fabric class, I figured I would show you my second assignment.  Although this is my second assignment, it is actually my third shirt.  The second was a disastrous New Look pattern that had weird shoulder darts per the pattern, and a weird hunchback, overstretched, holey neckline, courtesy of my horrible “stretch and sew” technique.  It now resides in a landfill somewhere.  My third shirt, however, came out pretty good for a pattern with more than two pieces.

Pattern: Butterick 4347

Pattern Description: Close-fitting top has long sleeves, neckline extending into collar or shawl collar

Pattern Sizing: Size Lrg

Fabric Used: Sophia Double Knit (67 percent Polyester 30 percent Rayon 3 percent Spandex)

Notions Used:None

Pattern Alterations: Petite Alternations

The Good:

  • I love the fabric!! The Sophia Double knit is to die for.  It is also pretty expensive.  I was happy to have bought it at 25% off so it wasn’t THAT bad.  I am now on the constant hunt for this fabric on sale.
  • I really like the color of the fabric.  I don’t have very many garments with this coloring so it makes me feel refreshed for the fall.
  • The pattern was pretty easy.  Nothing too bad

The Bad:

  • Staytape is your friend.  USE IT!  The pattern didn’t state the need for staytape this time so I forged on without it.  Bad idea.  I think the shoulder seams have stretched a bit due to the lack of stablization.  Ah well next time.

  • The armholes are too long.  If I lift my arms it find of tugs up and creates a bit of a bat wing.  I should have done  a 3/8″ petiting in the armholes as I do on Burda patterns.  I also think the lack of staytape a the shoulder accentuates this problem even more.  The solution?  Push the sleeves up.  It relieves the pulling and makes the garment okay to wear.
  • The neckline is a bit fussy.  Even in the picture you can see all the wrinkles.  I think I will slip stitch the collar right at the seamline in the front as that seems to be wear it want to be anyway.  That way I am not always fussing with it.
  • Not really a bad thing but something to note.  The front is a double panel of fabric so this is a pretty substantial shirt.  It should be great for the fall.

The Ugly:

  • For a knit garment, this shirt has a lot of handwork at the hems.  I blindhemmed the sleeves and the bottom which I think gives it a polished look, but man was it a pain.  I think the hemming took longer than the whole shirt! 🙂

Peacock Collection: Simplicity 8809

** See these lists really work!! I have finished quite a few of my “to do” list items so today will begin the birage of finished objects.  Enjoy!!

So I know I have mentioned it before, but I am taking a knit fabric class.  I was always afraid of using knit fabrics because of the slinky, slippery, STTTREEETCHY, hard to cut accurately, nature of the fabric.  It just seemed too unwieldy for my uber-anal nature.  I just knew there was a better way to cut these things and that I must be doing something wrong for this fabric to be so squirmy.   I entered into this class with the idea that I would find THE method for working with knit fabrics and surprisingly I did.

The secret? There IS no secret, knits are stretchy stupid…put on your big girl panties and cut, cut, cut.  And so I did…

Pattern: Simplicity 8809 (OOP, 1999), View B

Pattern Description: vintage pattern for misses pullover knit tops with sleeve and neckline variations. I did version B which has three-quarter length dolman sleeves and a boat neckline.

Pattern Sizing: Size 12, 14, 16, 18. I made a size 18

Fabric Used: Random Knit Fabric from M&L

Notions Used:Little bit of Staytape at the top of the sleeve

Pattern Alterations: This was a very boxy design so I nipped in the sides at the waist a little

The Good:

  • My first knit fabric top!!! Yay!! I don’t know why I was so afraid of using knit fabric but it took me taking a class to finally delve in.  Now I am addicted.
  • It is only two pieces.  Gotta love that!
  • I like the boatneck.  Since my collarbone is one of my prettiest feature I like to accentuate it when I can.

The Bad:

  • It is find of a boxy design and my body does not wear boxy designs very well so I knipped in the waist to give myself at least a little definition.

The Ugly:

  • I got nothin’.  I mean…come on…it is only two pieces people! How bad could it get?!


Finished Object: Short and Sassy Pleated Handbag

Pattern: Short and Sassy Pleated Handbag by Artsy-Crafty Babe

Fabric Used: Linen-look fabric for handles and top panels, Joel Dewberry Ironwork in Eggplant on outside, Brown canvas fabric inside

Notions Used: 1 brass magnetic snap, Pellon 70 heavy weight interfacing, Pellon non-woven medium weight interfacing.

Pattern Alterations: None

The Good:

  • I got to be one of the first to try out this cute little purse project because she granted me the privilege of being a pattern tester 🙂 I love pattern testing!
  • This purse worked up so quickly. If you need an instantly cute purse, this is it!
  • I liked the use of medium interfacing on the outside bottom panels which really made the pleats crisp and stay in place.
  • I really like the size of the bag and the handle length in particular. I know that is simple to adjust but it is nice when you don’t have to second guess the length. This one fit perfectly over my arm and on my shoulder which is where I like it.
  • If you don’t want to make one yourself you can buy this style or other equally cute styles at artsy crafy bade’s etsy store.

The Bad:

  • Due to the interfacing of the lining fabric, the slip stitching of the lining on the bottom caused a ridge to form on the inside of the bag because there is no real way to press that flat again. Next time I would try trimming the interfacing in that area to flatten it out.

  • The weight of the interfacing can cause wrinkling on the top bands when you close it. It is probably a case of just needing to break in the interfacing a little more. When they bag is open they completely disappear. Then again do I ever close these types of bags? Nope!

The Ugly:

  • I got nothin’! this bag went together so easily that there was wasn’t time to mess up 🙂 This is definitely a great pattern for beginners with the benefit of instant gratification. Even the top stitching was a cinch which one should note I have NEVER said before. I think top stitching can make or break a bag so when it comes out well, that is a compliment to the designer and design.

Finished Object: Lolita Apron

Pattern: Lola (and Lolita) Apron by Sew Liberated

Pattern Description: This mother-daughter apron duo will bring a flirty, retro flair to your kitschy kitchen. Inspired by a handmade vintage find, the Lola is a sure-fire way to get you cooking up a storm in style. The Lola’s customizable fit assures a flattering apron for all sizes and body types. Make one for yourself, your daughter and grandma too!

Pattern Sizing: Lolita Size Small for my 3 year old niece

Fabric Used: Purple Butterfly print from JoAnn’s

Notions Used: rickrack, 1/4″ bias tape

Pattern Alterations: None, at least not intentionally 🙂

The Good:

  • It’s so CUTE!! The pockets remind me of lollipops! I can’t say that I am much of a rickrack person but I definitely loved it for this apron because of the vintage look and the fact that it was for my niece.
  • There was quite a bit of topstitching involved in this apron and I recently bought an adjustable blind hem foot that really helped with controlling the topstitching.

The Bad:

  • None really, I did have some ‘hope for the best moments’ when sewing the rickrack and bias tape on the curves which proved difficult to make pretty, especially on the ties. I would suggest ironing in the curve for the bias tape and rickrack to make the sewing a little easier.

  • I would also use a more contrasting rickrack and main color bias tape next time as I thought my choices blended a bit too much.

The Ugly:

  • This is nothing at all to do with the pattern but I was making this during my wardrobe contest so I didn’t get to enjoy the making of this pattern as much as I should have. Guess that just means I have to make another 🙂

Peacock Collection ’08: Kasia Skirt

Pattern: Kasia Skirt – Burdastyle 6012

Pattern Description: Great for summer fun, this skirt features gathering of the pocket backing and bold bib-front buttons.

Pattern Sizing: 34-46. I increased the size to a 50 to accommodate my hips and badonk

Fabric Used: Black on Black pinstriped stretch cotton from Journal fabrics, Cotton batiste for inside pocket

Notions Used: 1″ buttons, invisible zipper, black knit interfacing

Pattern Alterations: Increased the sizing to a 50, Added a center back dart to the yoke to bring it back to fitting my waist which is about a 46 . I also added 1 1/4″ to the length of the skirt and only hemmed it one inch

The Good:

  • The pattern was FREE!!!! Such a great pattern found from free on Burdastyle. I don’t know how I stumbled up on this site but it was great! you just have to print out the sheet and tape them together. It was a snap!! If you are in the actual size range of the pattern, which I was not, you can then just cut it out and sew. It also have full pattern instructions that were easy to follow. I think this is super cool!!

  • This skirt has lots of cool details. The sailor front is very creative and you get pockets too! The gathers, which I will go into later where labor intensive but also a very cool focal point for the skirt. All in all just a great look.

  • I really like this style a lot. It just has so much going on, which depending on your taste can be good or bad. I opted for a more subdued styling for my first time because it was intended for my mini wardrobe submission to Patternreview.com which didn’t happen but I may try for something with more pop for the next time.

  • I am trying to expand my wardrobe and I think sewing is the key since I prescribe to the mantra of that “I wear what I make”. I was a little leery of this style, especially after seeing posts and comments like these. It was accentuated further by the fact that I have never worn or tried on the high waisted styles before but I just loved the look so I figured with a $10.00 investment in fabric how could I go wrong? In the end, I think the high waisted skirt actually works on me. It may not be THE best style but I think I can rock it. Plus with the wonders of Spanks this close fitting skirt doesn’t look half bad on my “big girl” body.
  • Found the fabric at my new favorite downtown L.A. fabric store, Journal Fabrics. It is a black on black pinstripe with SSSTTRREEETCCHHH! You will have to click on some of the pictures and look closely to see the detail of it as black is a B*TCH to photograph. It was outside for $1.99 a yard. Gotta love cheap inexpensive fabric!

  • The buttons! I have decided to see button purchases as an investment. For me, they are always more expensive than the fabric and I just need to factor that in. I should also not compromise on the buttons I love, even if they are $4.50 each! I bought them in Downtown L.A. so the price was at least competitive, but DAMN they were a grip! Funny part was that I passed them up on my first trip due to the price, but ultimately went back for them. People…I do not live THAT close to Downtown L.A. so I definitely loved these buttons. And when the skirt leaves my wardrobe, those buttons will be cut off and recycled onto a fabulous looking jacket 🙂


The Bad:

  • Sewing in those gathered sides was a bit of a pain. First you gather the hell out of the side section, then you sew the curves together. Can we say pinched and pleated fabric everywhere!!! I finally wised up and stay stitched the curve in the skirt front. It was still a pain and took forever to sew together but it came out good in the end.

  • This skirt has VERY little ease so make sure to account for that either via making a larger size or added some extra width to the side seams for alterations. And I highly suggest using stretch fabric for a pit more ease.

Side Detail of Skirt

  • Although the top part is not floppy at all, if I were to make it again I might choose another interfacing other than knit for this to give it a bit more structure

The Ugly:

  • There was a lot of tweaking of the yoke band to get the proper fit for my body. Unfortunately they were done so little by little that I would I did not record the changes. Therefore, if I want to make another it will be the same little by little alterations to get to the end result. YUCK!
  • The sailor front does have a tendency to come away from the body a little at the yoke. I knew this but went ahead anyway because I figure I could add snaps if that really started bothering me. Next step…add snaps 🙂
  • My face in these pictures!! OMG I couldn’t find a picture where I was smiling at all. I must have been fed up with the self time picture escapade by the time I got to this skirt because I look mad as hell…LOL. Now I finally understand why people think I am angry when I am not smiling. Note to self…stick with the smiles 🙂 Oh yeah, and despite the picture from the back I really am not a hunchback…LOL.

Conclusion

I love this skirt. It you want to try the style out this skirt is easy and quick. I highly recommend it and give it two thumbs up. I would definitely sew it again.

Tips/Tricks

  • Sew your gathers very close, if not on the 5/8″ line. It will keep your gathers from becoming pleats
  • Stay stitch the curve of the front skirt to avoid unwanted pinching and pleating
  • Add width to the side seams for alteration as this is a very slim fit
  • Use and invisible zipper for the closure as it looks better
  • Make sure to use a thinner lining fabric for the pocket pouch. Thicker fabric will cause the pocket seam to press on the front and it may show.

Peacock Collection ’08: B5181 Dress


Pattern: Butterick 5181, View A

Pattern Description: Misses’ Dress with lined, close-fitting bodice and slightly flared skirt in above mid-knee length with Center back zipper.

Pattern Sizing: F5(16-18-20-22-24). I made a 16

Fabric Used: 100% cotton from Joann’s and M&L fabrics

Notions Used: 14″ Zipper, Hooks and Eyes

Pattern Alterations: Changed Bust darts to gathers along the bust line. Trimmed the square shaped skirt of the dress into a slight A-line. Made View A but deleted the contrast hem and added the length to compensate.

The Good:

  • Love the fabric used as the skirt part of the dress. This fabric found on a whim at Jenny’s Fabrics for $1.69 a yard was the inspiration for the entire dress. I really loved this photo from Nordstrom’s and adapted that to be my theme for the Black and White collection. I love the combination of the mundane with the shock of color. I did get compliments on the dress but probably because everyone was distracted by the skirt fabric and the shoes :O)
  • The shoes!!! When I found them I knew this combination was meant to be. Finding size 12W shoes that are cute and comfortable are pretty rare, findind them in YELLOW unheard of, finding them when you are specifically looking for them is ASTRONOMICAL!!! I went to the Nordstrom’s Rack large shoe size event in search of yellow shoes and after 30 minutes of searching these lovelies were found. I LOVE them and I now will be a groupie at every Nordstrom’s Rack large shoe size event
  • I really like the dip in the back of the dress. Probably even more than the front 😕

The Bad:

  • This dress does and does not look like the pattern illustration. In theory it does, in that it has the general shape of the illustration, but the fit and drape in the picture is a far cry from what you get. The fabric even calls for light broadcloth and mine is a pretty thin cotton.
  • The bodice nearly touches your navel. Ok, it doesn’t go that far but “the girls” were feeling a little over exposed so a cami will always be worn under this dress. Good thing I actually like it that way. Even more so than the original.

The Ugly:

  • The pattern sizing. My bust is a 39 1/4″, C cup. I originally made the size 18, which is 40″ bust, B cup (this is an assumption on Big Four sizing). The size 18 was given two inches of ease in the bust making it a 42″ bust in the end. Holy Cow!! The 18 was like a tent. I guess I should have known that this needed a more fitted bodice, but I didn’t think 2″ of ease would make of break this dress. Suffice it to say it does and you should size this dress for your bust size minus the ease.

  • I changed the bust darts into gathers instead. I just couldn’t get the dart from looking like I had an extra nipple or that pointy bra that Madonna wore. The gathers proved to be even more of a challenge to make the bodice look good…or at least okay.

  • The skirt on this is a little too pregnant lady. The rectangular cut of fabric created a huge gathering of fabric at the band, which by the way was a pain to gather, and causes it to have a large petticoat nature instead of the slimmer fit illustrated in the pattern picture.  I tried to add a bit of an “A” line but I guess I needed to take out more because it still is pretty big.

Conclusion

I hated making this dress. In fact, I had to pick the pattern out of the garbage to remember what the pattern number was before I chucked it back in with disdain. I liked what the illustration reflected but there have got to be a gazillion similar patterns on the market that produce better results without all the trouble.

Tips/Tricks :

  • Gather the skirt in sections rather than across the whole shabang. It makes it easier to bunch up all the fabric
  • Sew your gathers very close, if not on the 5/8″ line. It will keep your gathers from becoming pleats
  • Stay stitch the curve of the front bodice pieces to prevent stretching. Due to the curving nature of the bodice it eventually get a bit of a bias going on the fabric. If this stretches you can get some gapping at the bust