Tuesday, March 29, 2011

More New Patterns...and Hair Update

      Thanks so much readers for the supportive comments about my hair travails.  Just an update:  The next day I decided something had to be done.  I woke up the next morning and my hair looked even worse.  It could have been because I did not have on makeup and had just woken up.  Anyway, I called a lady who does hair in my hometown that I have gone to before.  I had been to her at different times in the past, but I always leave and go to someone else because she does not use the modern color technique of foiling.  However, there is something to be said for experience, and she definitely knows hair color. I very calmly dialed her number and when she answered I burst into tears.  I don't know where it came from, but I think I had just been holding it in and it just all came gushing out.  She was very sweet and had an opening at that moment.  I jumped in the car and immediately went to her.  She fixed my hair.  I am so happy.  It is a nice medium brown with fine highlighting.  It is a little thinner because of breakage from the previous hairdresser, but it still has its length.  My goal now is to not do anything to it for awhile and just let it grow.  I would like to grow it six more inches and get my healthy naturally brown hair back.  Anyway, enough of that...onto more important things...like new patterns.
   I got an email from BMV this morning and immediately ordered some new patterns--like I needed any new ones.  I can never contain myself though when I get one of their emails.  The closest Hancock's or Hobby Lobby to me is 1 hour away and the closest Joann's is 2 hours, so I order from BMV when they have a sale.  I got some goodies.  I always love to see what patterns other bloggers buy, so I will share.
First up are the Butterick patterns I ordered.  I adore the triangle open back of this dress.  I have some fun stretch cotton sateen fabric from fashionfabricsclub that I might use to make this dress.


possible fabric for B5601

I also considered going in a totally different direction and trying a knockoff of anthropologie's Windowpane  dress.  I would have to draft a flounce for that, though.
back view of Windowpane Dress
Next is B5455.  I have long had my eye on this dress.  I have no clue what fabric I will use, but I probably won't use a large print like the one pictured first.  I want something that will show off the lines of the dress better.
Onto the McCalls patterns... First up is M6024. I really like the sleeveless version of this dress.
I have the fabric I want to use for this dress. It is a red polyester charmeuse with white polka dots that I bought on sale on a rare trip to Hancock's.  However, I don't think I have enough of it. GRRR!!!  I may have to get inventive in the way I cut it, or use a different fabric for the ruffle of the dress. 
    The next pattern is a top.  I want to use it to do a knockoff of anthropologie's Volante tee.
The last three I ordered are Vogue patterns.  I have long had my eye on this little beauty.  There are some gorgeous renditions of it on Patternreview.
The jury is still out on what fabric I will use, but I am thinking strongly about a watercolor cotton sateen I recently ordered from fabric.com. 

Sateen fabric

I also ordered a skirt pattern.  It is too long for my taste so I will have to shorten it a bit.  I will probably wait and sew this up in a small plaid for fall.  I really like the middle view of this skirt best.

Lastly, I ordered only one of the new Summer patterns that just came out.  Honestly, this was the only one that appealed to me.
My favorite view of this dress is the lovely cream version of it.

Isn't that just scrumptious?!?!

I made two dresses this past week that I was off for Spring Break.  It might be a couple of weeks before I debut them, because I like to take pics when I am actually wearing the dress somewhere.    One is my Easter dress, so it will be Easter before I blog about it.  In the meantime, I am working on another dress that I hope to finish by this weekend. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

My hair travails... and new patterns

First, readers, thank you so much for your lovely comments on my recent dress.  Honestly, I had some misgivings about it after I made it, but all of you made me feel really good about it.  I think the reason I had misgivings was because I had just watched What Not To Wear, and it crossed my mind to wander if Stacy and Clinton would approve of it.  Who cares if they do or not!?!?  I like the show because they do put together some cute outfits and there are some gorgeous dresses on there, but I find it to be very inconsistent.  For instance, there were two shows on last Tuesday night.  In the first show, Stacy told the makeover-ee that her dresses were too short.  However, in the very next episode, Stacy was wearing a dress shorter than any the lady in the previous episode had worn...Go figure...but, I digress.
    Anyway, this is a mostly non-sewing post and a non-shoe post.  This is really a gripe about my hair post so if you want to stop reading, go ahead, but if you feel like listening to, er, reading, a gripe, just continue along.  I do talk about some new patterns I have ordered at the end if you just want to skip to that :)
   When I turned 33 or 34 years old, I decided that I wanted to go blonde after having worn my natural medium brown hair all my life.  I started slowly by getting a few highlights here and there.  Then, I went blonde overboard.  I went really platinum.  I got tired of all the upkeep so I got it lowlighted.  Then over the next 3 or 4 years I would go lighter, then darker, lighter, then darker....you get the idea.  Up until a year ago, I was in a reddish brown phase that I really liked.  It was something I could handle doing myself, so I did my own color and just went to get my split ends trimmed ever so often.  Then I turned 40, and I think I sort of went through a midlife crisis.  I decided that I had to be blonde again so I went to a "professional".  I started out with some highlights, but then I went blonde overboard again.  You have probably seen it in my recent posts.   My colorist was excellent at doing blonde.  It had no weird tones in it but was just a nice light blonde.  I really liked it, but I started hating the expensive upkeep and the dark roots more.  I had been giving it alot of thought and decided to go back to a light brown with very fine highlighting.  I really think it looks better on my skin tone.   In the past when I have gone back from blonde to brown with other hair colorists, it has not been a problem.
   Well, when I walked into the salon this morning and showed her some pics to give her an idea of what I wanted, I had no idea what a traumatic event this would turn out to be.  In the past when I have gone from blonde to brown, my previous hair colorists have just added dark streaks to it with a demi-permament color and used a toner to blend everything in.  It has been no big issue. 
    Well, she pulled out the hair swatches and started showing me different ones.  We picked one that looked like the hair color in the picture. Now I know that you can't just put color on your hair and think it will look like the swatch.  When you have bleached hair, you have to fill in missing colors.   I started to ask her if she was going to fill in the missing colors in my hair first, but then her supervisor told her that what she was using would be fine since it had all the missing colors.  She put it on my regrowth and then pulled it through the rest of my hair.  It turned my roots this red color and did not darken my hair at all.  She was totally stumped as to why my blonde hair did not go darker.  The one thing you don't want to hear come out of you colorists mouth is "Hmmmm."   So she ran the color through again and it did not go darker.  Then she decided to put bleach on my roots to get out the red.  She then put a shade darker on my hair than she had used before and it finally went a little darker, but it is not as dark as I wanted.  I still have this slight weird redness to my roots and my hair is this muddy water dark blonde.  I will credit her for trying to fix it before I left, but I am not happy with it.  As I was leaving, 6 HOURS LATER,  she said,  "it looks good  for what it has been through."  That is what concerns me...what my hair has been through.  Amazingly, my hair ends did not fry at all.  I must have a tough head of hair.  
     She has lost my business.  This may sound a little unfair, but you only get one chance with my hair.  If you mess up once, that is all you get,  because I can mess it up for a lot cheaper myself. I won't demand my money back, but I just won't come back again or recommend you to anyone else.   At this point, I do not trust these so called hair "professionals" at all. I know there are some good ones out there, but not in this small, podunk town I live in.   From this point forward, I will be doing my own color.  I am just going to live with this awhile until I decide what to do.  It is not awful looking, but I assure you I won't have people stopping me on the street complimenting my hair color.  Thanks for listening, er, reading.  I feel better just getting this off my chest.
   Also, to make myself feel a little better, I decided to take advantage of Pattern Review's sale of McCalls and Butterick patterns and order some I have been wanting.  I ordered these 4 patterns:
McCall 6069
McCall 6321
Butterick 5356
Butterick 5491
There is nothing that quite makes you feel better as good as new patterns.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Inspired by Anthropologie's Night Blooming Dress - S2724/S2403

Night Blooming Dress-anthropologie
     About a year ago, anthropologie came out with the Night Blooming Dress.  The bodice was a beautiful silk with birds and flowers on it and the skirt was a black fabric (I am not sure what type of fabric). It had pretty pleating at the neck.  But, it  retailed at about  $150-ish as many anthropologie dresses do.  I knew this dress would be a difficult one to knock off, not because of the style of it, but because of the fabric.  You can see a closeup of the bodice here.  I chose not to post a pic because it is from someone else's blog and I think I should probably link instead.

    The style of the dress is actually pretty simple, but finding similar fabric was another matter.  I looked and looked and finally gave up.  A couple of months ago, I was fabric shopping for something totally different and came across this lovely piece of cotton fabric by Alexander Henry.  I bought it here from Hancock's of Paducah.
Alexander Henry fabric
Even though it is not silk, it immediately reminded me of the bodice of the Night Blooming Dress.  It is a high quality cotton that actually feels like a nice linen instead of what I think of as cotton fabric.  I knew this was probably as close as I was going to get, so I ordered it.  I also ordered some black linen/rayon blend fabric from fabric.com.  I looked through my patterns and decided to use the pleated bodice and puff sleeves from S2724 and the skirt and waistband from S2403.  I also added the pockets that the pattern called for.  I don't have a dress with pockets so I thought they would be a fun change.

As far as the patterns are concerned, I followed the directions exactly and installed an invisible zipper on the side. The waist and darts did have to be tweaked a little on the skirt because the skirt from the pattern I used was higher waisted than the actual one in the pattern that went with the bodice I used. 

 badly fitting back
(sorry for the crooked pic)
   The dress does not have a back seam so to fix this, I made the darts go lower in the back and also took a deeper seam in them.

much better fitting back

I chose not to line the dress.  Since I was planning on using an invisible zipper and already had a waistband, I was afraid it would just make the seam too thick for one.   I did not put buttons down the front of the skirt like in the Night Blooming Dress. The silk bodice of Night Blooming Dress adds some elegance to the dress. Since my bodice is cotton fabric, I knew if I put buttons down the skirt  front, it would look too casual. I decided to use a less full skirt without buttons for a slightly more elegant look, not that I would call my dress elegant by any means. I think it is just a fun, Spring dress.

upclose of bodice

necklace:  JCPenney
Eggplant patent Mary Jane Heels:  Dillards (before they sold out to Belk)

I am thinking about adding a belt to the dress, but to make it stay put, I will have to add some belt loops.   I am on Spring Break next week, so  I am hoping to get some serious sewing done.  Until next time...

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Kate Spade Bee Cardigan Knockoff

     First of all, thank you Readers for all the lovely, kind comments on my ruffle skirt.  They were wonderful to read and I really appreciate all your encouragement and support.
     Last year Kate Spade came out with a cardigan that I just gasped over when I saw it.  It is the Kate Spade Bumble Bee Sweater.
Emma Pilsbury wore it on Glee.  I don't watch Glee, but I certainly keep up with Emma Pillsbury's style.  I just love it.

There have been a couple of fantastic knockoffs of this cardigan that I know of at Grosgrain and Little Nashua
Here is my take on it.  I bought a black cardigan off the sale rack at JCPenney.  It has the prettiest rhinestone buttons on it. As soon as I saw it I knew it would be perfect for the knockoff.  I bought an sequin applique bee off ebay and ironed it on.
I just love the little red heart antennae.  The white stitching is done with 4 strands of DMC floss.  This was the instant gratification project I have been looking for.
closeup of stitching
Here is how I wore it to work today.  I made this skirt before I ever started blogging.  It is a lightweight polyester material with a raised design in it.  I don't even remember the pattern I used.   The polka dot tights are from F21 and the Mary Janes are from Payless.

As I recall the Kate Spade sweater was $350ish (correct me if I am wrong) and mine cost less than $20.  Talk about instant gratification.
Have a Great Day!!!

Thursday, March 3, 2011

S2475- A Ruffly Confection Inspired by Anthropologie

Last year, anthropologie came out with a very cute skirt by Leifsdottir called the "Coming and Going Skirt" in several colors.

I believe it also may have come in a navy.  It retailed at over $200 as I recall, but eventually went on sale for under $100 I believe.  I never bit the bullet when it went on sale because I said to myself, "I can do that", or at least something similar. Also, it was still just a little more than I wanted to pay for a skirt.  I just put in on my long "Things to Knock Off" list.  I was recently in my local fabric shop and saw a lovely Michael Miller light gray polka dot cotton fabric.  It said to me, "I want to be your skirt." I did not buy it at the time even though it kept calling to me every time I went in the store.  I just wasn't quite sure yet how I wanted to approach doing a replica or something similar.  I was perusing the reviews at Pattern Review one day and just happened upon a review of S2475 using an alteration on the Joann's website.  I would link you to the review, but I can't find it anymore. :(  

       I will just say from the outset that I hated sewing this skirt pattern. I loved sewing the added details of the pleats and ruffles, but I hated sewing the actual basic skirt.   It is one of those that has the Slim, Average, and Curvy fit. I don't like those patterns because I find them too confusing to determine my fit.  I know it is supposed to make it easier, but I am just weird that way.   I just went with Average in the usual size I make.  The pattern calls for 5/8 in seams except for one seam that is labeled 1" on the pattern sheet.  I did exactly as the pattern described and when I tried it on, it swallowed me.  I went back and did one inch seams everwhere, tapering out to 5/8 from the hips down to make it fit.  I suspect I chose the wrong size or fit--who knows?
     For the basic skirt, I used some cheapo fabric.com linen blend in a lt gray color from my ever growing stash  (I will do post on that in the future)  since it wasn't going to show anyway.  You can see on this skirt where I marked the placement of the fabric strips.

I moved the zipper to the back and did only one seam vent (is that what they are called?) in the back.  The alteration to this skirt calls for 11 strips of fabric cut on the bias, but I only used 9. 

   I originally planned to use an invisible zipper.  I inserted it using a wonderful tutorial from Adventures in Dressmaking.  It is the absolute best invisible zipper tutorial I have ever seen-it is pure genius!!!  When I got the zipper in and tried to zip it up, I had lots of problems. I jerked and jerked on it and finally got it to zip up.  I looked to see if my stitching was too close and I could not tell that it was.  I put the skirt on and again began to yank and yank my zipper to try to get it to go up.  Guess what, I broke the zipper.  GRRRRRR!!!!
   I took it out, bought another zipper, and redid it.  It still gave me some problems zipping up, though not as badly as before.  After reading this post on The Slapdash Sewist, I have come to the conclusion that my fabric is just too thick for an invisible zipper.  I have the layer of fabric that is the actual skirt, then folded strips of fabric with overlap--5 layers of fabric in some places.  I finally threw my hands up and put in a regular zipper. I am happy, though, that I originally put in an invisible zipper so that I could learn this tutorial.  I will be using it from here on out for invisible zippers.  Anyway, I did not line the skirt because it already has so many layers.  I serged the seams inside and I am just going to wear a slip. 
The circles that form the ruffles have a narrow hem that I made using my narrow hem foot.  I really dreaded that part, but it wasn't so bad. 
narrow hem closeup

narrow hem foot closeup

Although it is not an exact replica, it reminds me so much of the anthropologie skirt.
Here is how I wore it in an outfit to work today
Cardigan:  Old Navy
Blouse:  Old Navy
Yellow patent heels: Payless
Necklace:  etsy seller

I am SO HAPPY that I am through with this skirt.  WHEW!!! It took forever with the zipper mishaps.  I am seriously ready for an instant gratification project.  I have so many things on my list that I want to make, but I am determined that the next thing off that list will be quick and easy.  Have a Great Day!