Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cutie Pattotie Birthday duds!

Happy Birthday Emma Rose!

I have not seen Emma since Christmas, when she was just 5 months old, so I had to do some wild guessing as to size, color/style preferences, etc.
Ottobre, and my local quilt shop, The Whistling Chicken, helped a lot!!!

When I saw this adorable ensemble in the Summer 2009 issue, I knew I wanted to make it.

It was in the size range that I guess Emma to be, so I only had to find fabric coordinates. Not a problem!!!!!

Carthage's local quilt shop is just lousy with beautiful cotton muslins (perfect for quilt-making, n'est pas?) that I thought would make this up beautifully. The toughest part was narrowing down the selection to only 3 fabrics. When I saw these, I loved the way the severe brown worked with he girly-pink, and the juxtaposition of preppy plaid, mod flower-power, and sweet tiny calico.

I added only lace to the brim of the hat. A girl's gotta have a touch of lace!

I love the Ottobre designs, and the construction methods. A word of warning: Ottobre assumes a level of experience somewhat higher than does most American pattern instructions. They aren't necessarily difficult, but they don't hold your hand through every step. If you are a beginner, you might want to have a more seasoned sewist on stand-by to help interpret.
But don't let that stop you from trying!

I shall post pictures of Emma Rose wearing her new birthday suit, as soon as someone takes them and E-Mails them to me. Ahem!!!!~

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Weird new Dress or: Why I Like Weird

Truthfully, there may be no real explaining why I like some weird things.

Kosher dill pickles and Dr.Pepper when you are no longer pregnant?
A dyed-in-the-wool Southern Belle who hates Summer, heat, sweating, catfish and most fried foods?
An avowed lexiphyle who, nonetheless, says "y'all" frequently?
Somethings will remain mysteries.

I can, however, explain why I like atypical, eclectic, okay - weird - clothes: they can never be dated.

Haven't you sometimes had an item of clothing that you loved so much, you wanted to wear it forever? As long as it was intact, and still fit, you wanted to wear it even if it did scream, "1987". But you relegated it to the back of your closet, and the fond-memory portion of your brain because you knew that every time you wore it people would wonder why you were still wearing clothes that went out of style 27 years ago.
Here's my theory:
If you wear clothes that are artistic, outre, avant-garde, that is: clothes that never were mainstream trendy, or never were 'in style', then they can't really ever go out of style, can they?

Here is my latest foray into the artistic, outre, avant-garde style of dressing.
Vogue 1234, designed by Sandra Betzina.
Yep. This is one weird dress.

Sort of princess-seamed, but with bust darts. Pocket-like projections that aren't pockets, and, amazingly, don't give the impression of hips that are the results of a cheesecake-only diet/ never exercise lifestyle.
This was the strangest thing to sew I have tackled in a long time.
The instructions were surprisingly confusing. I say, "surprisingly" because one of the reasons I gravitate to Sandra Betzina designs is for the wonderful engineering, excellent construction techniques, and clear, understandable instructions.
The pattern pieces don't look like any typical pieces. They are narrow in strange places, stop abruptly, and jut out strangely in improbable spots, and it is nearly impossible to look at individual pieces and see the end result.
I did not find this in the least daunting. This was not the first time I had sewn something of pieces that did not make sense initially, or during construction, but worked perfectly at the end.
The instructions suggest labeling dots on the pattern pieces to be matched by a letter/number combination. Thus: 1A, 1B, 2C, etc. Then, when constructing, match correspondingly labeled dots by keeping the patterns on the fabric, until matched, then sewn. Okay. If that's such a great idea, why wasn't the pattern so annotated when it was being printed?? This pattern retails for $27.50 -- Vogue couldn't spend the extra ink to label dots according to the designer's instructions? I found the whole 'label and match' thing to be way too complicated and time-consuming. I kept the pattern instructions open and handy, and followed the pictures. No problems.
This actually went together beautifully, making more and more sense as pieces were joined.

I made it of a silk/rayon jersey that I ordered from Gorgeous Fabrics. Their name is not an exaggeration - gorgeous, indeed!
The pattern required a 2-way stretch, and I worried that my, frankly zaftig, body would not be flattered by a clingy knit. Not to worry -- this knit doesn't cling - it glides. It feels wonderful, resists wrinkling, and machine washes easily. I shall buy this again!

A word on the relative value of so expensive a pattern: It may retail for $27.50, but I certainly didn't pay that! For that kind of money, the pattern would need to contain more than 1 dress, with only a sleeve variation; or would need to have some very unusual sewing technique that I wanted to learn. I bought this on one of Hancock's sales for $3.99. Let me suggest that you sign up for their loyalty card so that you, too, will know of each and every sale. Vogue patterns @ $3.99 is not to be missed!!!

Next up: Birthday pretties for Emma Rose!