I made a dress today. My first dress! It turned out pretty good. The pattern is Simplicity 3875 (otherwise referred to as the Duro Junior.) I didn’t make the more traditional Duro view; I made the v-neck with the crossover banding.
Here’s what I learned:
- My pattern was the wrong size, so I had to fudge a little on sizing it up to my measurements. This was actually pretty successful. I probably can take the shoulders back down a size, but otherwise, my alterations were pretty spot on. Except…
- The back-neck-to-waist measurement was two inches longer than on me, so I shortened the bodice by two inches. Because it’s an empire waist, though, two inches was too many. I should have shortened the bodice by 1 inch — maybe even only by half an inch — and taken the other inch or inch and a half off of the skirt front.
- The sleeves on this dress — the C pattern — are just not great. I don’t think it has anything to do with my construction or my alterations; they just aren’t good sleeves. The big problem is that I can’t lift my arms up at all. Next time I’ll make the B dress, which doesn’t have a set-in sleeve and thus should avoid that problem.
- This fabric, while a little heavy for the pattern, actually worked out quite well. It’s got a nice sheen to it, and it really sewed up beautifully. Given that it’s actually a home dec fabric, I am pretty happy with it.
I finally finished my skirt, and I have to say, it didn’t turn out too badly. The zipper is still completely messed up, and the trim is slightly uneven, but overall, I think it turned out pretty cute.
Next up: a cute sundress in a fun sunflowery fabric. It’s going to take me a while to make it, based on the instructions.
Snapping out of a funk is sometimes as simple as doing something with your hands. Being in a funk, I decided to do something with my hands–but something that would not cause me to gain weight, as my favorite hands-on hobby, cooking, tends to do. (I figure, if you’re going to make something fancy, why worry about the calories? Bring on the butter!)
So I pulled the sewing machine back out this weekend, and set to make a garment–and this time, to follow instructions and not get frustrated like the last time I tried to make a garment. (For the record, The Ugliest Skirt Ever.)
After a trip to the remnant room at the neighborhood fabric store (and a second trip back for a lining fabric), I created this:
It still needs to be hemmed, though I think I’ll keep it longer than knee-length; it seems to work on this particular skirt.
As you can see below, the zipper/waistband was a total fail and I still haven’t finished the trim:
But I made it! And it’s pretty good for a first (genuine) effort!
I leave you with the pretty lining:
(Oh, the skirt was modeled, in all but the mirror photo, by my duct tape dress form which Mr. Angst Very Kindly helped me create this weekend.)
I made the last bag of 2008 tonight. Also, my mother opened her birthday present early—the penultimate bag of 2008, as it turns out—so I thought I’d go ahead and post pictures of them.
Mom’s bag is rather big, made of very similar fabric as the brown one I made for my sister-in-law. As stiff and heavy as that twill is, though, a bag this big needs some structure. I didn’t interface it, though, so it’s a little floppy.
Yes, there is a zippered pocket in the bag. It was not as . . . neat as I hoped it would be. But you can’t really tell on the finished product, so.
The last bag of 2008 is, as Mr. Angst puts it, a little flashy. I thought this striped fabric was pretty, but it was too heavy for a lining, so it was going to be the outside of SOMETHING. Maybe it would have made a better pillow? Anyway, I got to play with some things, like pleats, a yoke, and a magnetic snap. Fun! I am pretty sure I will NEVER wear this bag, so this one may go in the pile with the other stripey bag—not quite well-done enough to attempt to sell, but too nice to just toss.
I also made peanut butter bonbons tonight (some people will call them buckeyes, though mine are totally covered in chocolate), and they are yummy. Mr. Angst does not care for them, to which I say, good! More for me!
And with that, I am off to beautify myself for New Year’s Eve. Happy New Year, all!
Nephew’s hat was too small. Kid has a big head! Luckily, my mother-in-law has a sewing machine, so we stopped by a fabric store down the road, picked up a remnant of fleece pretty much the same color as the original hat, and I made a new one. And then I made two hats for the Angst-in-laws. Fleece, though, is hard to work with—both adult hats are sort of loose and floppy looking. (Frankly, so is the kid one, but he’ll grow into it in about two weeks, given that he’s 6 months old.)
I promised pictures!
Here, first, is the froggie. There’s nothing posed with them to indicate size, but the body (sans legs) is about 5 inches long.
Second, this is the bag with the lining that I LOVE.
Here is the adorable hat I made for my nephew.
Finally, this is a bag I made this evening. I’m not sure who is getting this; I had some scrap fabric I wanted to play with, and this seemed fun and cute. I sort of made up this pattern all on my own, and I originally intended it to have a button clasp, among other things. I got a little wigged out, though, when I discovered I had not measured things properly and thought I might have completely screwed things up. I managed to pull it off, though. Yay!
As much as I complain about my Saturdays being taken up with stuff, I would rather be busy than sitting on the couch trying to figure out what TV to watch. To wit, today I got up, went to yoga, made lunch (migas! yum!), dashed out to Target (in the snow, no less), and spent about 4 hours at the sewing machine. While at the sewing machine I made a bag for my sister-in-law, and I love love love the lining, so much so that I might have to buy more of it (sadly, it only appears to be available in combinations of red, white, and black). I also made one of my nephews an adorable little fleece hat (with homemade pompom), and another of my nephews a scarf. Oh, and I finished the second froggie. I have a few more gifts to make, but since I’m getting so much better at the sewing thing, I don’t think they’ll take very long.
What will I occupy my time with when Christmas is over and I don’t have any more gifts to make? I think garments are out of reach for now, and Mr. Angst doesn’t really share my love of decorative pillows. I may have to open an etsy shop.
I am pulling within shooting distance of being done with Christmas gift-making. I finished the first of the nephew-bound stuffed animals—a cute little froggie, of which I will post pictures sometime. In order to finish it, I had to take a quick after-work trip to the craft store, though, and left with twelve other items I did not necessarily need. Two of them were in the check-out aisle. Oops.
Anyway, I’m getting there, slowly but surely. And mostly, I’m enjoying it. I’ve never been one much for making gifts—I’ve never been very crafty. But apparently, I’m decent at this, and that makes the process so much more fun. Next year, I may actually try to make the majority of my gifts, rather than just a handful.
I made a bag today. I’m pretty proud of it. Despite a few mishaps (like the lining not lining up with the outer bag at the corners, and completely missing the lining while doing my topstitch), it turned out pretty nicely. Of course, it’s also about 65% of the size I thought it would be, from the pictures that accompanied the pattern. But it’s OK—the bag is still super cute, just a little . . . less useful than I thought it would be, given it’s smallness.
The point, however, is not that the bag is small, or even that it’s useful or not useful. The point is that I MADE A BAG. And it looks like it’s supposed to, unlike the two very ugly skirts I attempted last month. I think I’m doing bags and pillows only from now on.
The only problem with hemming your own pants is how damn painstaking it is. I have a machine that will do a blind hem stitch, but it’s damn hard to do that on a heavy pant, like a denim trouser. Frankly, it’s hard to do on a pant hem generally, nevermind the fabric, just because the opening is so narrow. So I’m sitting in front of the TV, watching Life, and whipstitching the hem of a new pair of denim trousers.
Maybe I should invest in some better hand-sewing needles. And a thimble. Because I get the feeling I’ll be doing more of this.