Saturday, December 28, 2013

And Now A Quick Holiday Greeting

Good afternoon, kittens! I hope you have had a wonderful holiday season so far. Or, as they say where I currently am, a wonderful "festive season." So far this week, Sam and I have: gotten married, celebrated Christmas, flown halfway across the world, and eaten an obscene amount of cake in the process. We've finally settled in to our hotel in Dublin, where we'll be for a week, before exploring some other parts of Ireland. I won't be posting any new makes until we get back on the 7th, but I did want to share this quick, lovely image from our ceremony last week and wish everyone a very happy end of 2013! I don't have any good images yet of the whole dress, but I thought this one of my parents walking me down the aisle was too sweet not to share.

Happy Christmas/Holidays/New Year, friends! I love you all immensely and will see you in 2014.

We're now off to grab a pint somewhere. Cheers!

Monday, December 16, 2013

Miss Juliet Dons a Rose: SImplicity 1873

Good afternoon, noble sewists! Today has been - surprise! - a whirlwind of wedding related shenanigans. I have painted dozens of wooden snowflakes, contacted every vendor, formatted all of our signage, and spent thirty minutes trying to get metallic spraypaint out of my nail beds. For a moment, it looked as though I'd developed some rare Midas form of lepresy.

Quite frankly, I can't imagine what The Week Before (cue thunder, lightning) would be like for someone who really cared about every detail. We're having a relaxed brunchy affair and I'm still up to my eyeballs in projects. My to-do list just won't die!

Ergo, it should come as no surprise that I haven't been sewing. There are two giant wedding projects that will require my sewing machine later this week, but other than prepping for those, my sewing room has seen little action. The good news is that this allows me to show off one of my most beloved unposted projects!

This, my dear ones, is Simplicity 1873. In the summer of 2012, I made four of these babies, and wore them nonstop. A simple bodice attached to a pieced, pleated circle skirt, this Cynthia Rowley pattern is one of my all time favorites. For my first one, reviewed last year in this post, I followed the instructions to a tee, but these latter versions are pretty bare bones. I wanted easy cotton dresses that I could wash, wear, and survive the brutal Austin summers in.

Despite using some gorgeous modern prints for my others, this muted rose version is my reigning favorite. My mother graciously allowed me to pick through her stash a few years ago and this is one of the fabrics unearthed in that adventure. It's a very drapey rose-print quilting cotton from the late 1980s. It looks like bad curtains.

I love it. Hard.

Blame it on a childhood spent decked out in Laura Ashley dresses, but I have gooey, sappy feelings for chintzy florals. They make me want to curl my hair and frolic through meadows. This one, with its shades of dusty rose and sage against a black background, is no different.

As for construction, it's been awhile, but I'll try to dredge up some details. Instead of the prescribed full lining, I finished this dress with black bias tape turned to the inside. If one is to survive the kind of heat we see here, layers must be dispensed with. Plus, bias tape is quick to install. I wanted these done quickly!

For sizing, I completely cheated on ALL of the 1873s. While I should have done a real full bust adjustment, I instead graded from one size at the shoulders, up at the bust, down at the waist, then back up again. That's why it's just a smidge too big in certain places, like my under bust. Ah, well. For an quick cotton dress, who really cares?

While my other 1873s are limited to mostly summer outfits, this rose print lovely layers up perfectly in the colder months. Today, I wore her with my trusty emerald cardigan, but she also looks snazzy with tights, boots, and a dark rose cardigan on top.

So...there we have it! A frock Laura Ashley would call her own. Now, I'm off to sew endless amounts of wedding bunting for this weekend. Six days!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Miss Peggy Cozies Up to Plaid

Bonjour, my dear ones! Apologies for my unexpected blog silence, this past week. Between the holidays, my bachelorette party (a Nancy-Drew-inspired mystery dinner adventure), and crossing off my wedding to-do list, time slipped away from me. We're getting married in two weeks and, despite trying to keep everything low key, there are still so many things to be done!

Also, it's fucking cold. 

I would apologize for my language, but the high today is 22° Fahrenheit, with a wind chill of 12°
It hasn't been above freezing in two days. That may seem wimpy to those in the northern climes, but our average December high temperature is safely in the sixties. We're currently under a freezing fog advisory. I didn't even know that fog could freeze! "Freaking" really doesn't seem strong enough for the situation.

Snow fell this morning and is still frozen on things! Snow! On things! 

The good news, however, is that this weather is excellent practice for our honeymoon to Ireland. My cold weather wardrobe is going to be bangin', by the time our Boxing Day flight leaves. To that end, I've made another cozy skirt! 

After my trial run of the Peggy skirt, we all knew there was a love affair in store. I absolutely adore this pattern. The pretty pockets, figure-hugging high waist, and simple lines are the stuff my skirt dreams are made of. For my second version, I used a dreamy black, cream, and pink wool blend from Fabric Mart. 

As soon as Sam and I decided to honeymoon in Ireland during the winter, I invested in some pretty woolens. It's easy to talk myself out of such purchases, since we live in the sweltering Texas heat for half of the year, but I always lust after winter fabrics. The trip is a great excuse to indulge that fancy!

This wool blend, medium weight and with a nice drape, is such a Mary lust fabric. The combination of black, cream, and light pink is one of my favorites. There's something so 1950's Paris about those colors together, you know? It's only by the grace of looking bad in hats that I haven't bought a pink beret to pair with this skirt. I loooooove it. 

This round of Peggy skirt construction was a breeze, y'all. After my first time inserting those pockets, it was remarkably easy to repeat, and the rest of the skirt is just a few tucks and a lapped zipper. If you have any questions about construction, it would be best to reference my muslin post, which is a true in-depth review. 

The only challenge of this skirt came in matching the large scale plaid. I cut it on a single layer layout, which is time consuming, but a great way to make sure every line is straight. For matching the plaid itself, I took the Lladybird approach to things and cut everything I could on the bias, which meant the waistband and pockets. I love how the bias-cut waistband turned out, specifically. It emphasizes the beauty of Abby's design to perfection.

Since the Peggy Skirt side seams are curved, I settled for matching horizontal lines there, which turned out reasonably well and made hemming way easy. Meanwhile, the back. Let's talk about the back...

Oh, look! Mary matched plaids perfectly! Or wait...

I spent a ridiculous amount of time and effort matching the back seam, only to realize after sewing it up that I'd omitted the two white vertical lines that were supposed to be there. Instead, I oh-so-brilliantly matched one thin white line instead. Whhhhhyyyyy? 

It doesn't bother my eye any, but after all that effort, it feels like such a fail. I was so proud of myself! I even trotted out to Sam mid-construction, so that he could admire my plaid-matching skillz. All for naught. Whatever. I'm pretty sure that I'm not meant to be a person who perfectly matches plaid, anyway. That's for far more sophisticated people than I. 

I like my thin white line! Take that, gods of plaid!

The details...
Things I Loved:
  • The pocket! It's a genius little design, once you have confidence in the method, and adds a really special detail. 
  • The pattern! Fun fact: After my first Peggy, Abby informed me that I was actually the first person to buy the Peggy pattern. Ergo, logic insists that I'm a superfan and have the authority to say...go buy it now. Now! Now! Now! It's the perfect skirt pattern, friends. This is one you'll go back to again and again, I promise. 
  • The waistline! I love a high waist so hard, y'all.  

Things I Changed:
  • Cut a smaller waistband.
  • Took a very large hem again - over five inches. 

Things I Would Change, If I Made It Again:
  • Add the tabs! I still haven't added this design detail, despite how adorable it is. Next time...

Notions & Fabric:
  • 7 inch hot pink zipper, which Sam insisted on while accompanying me JoAnn's. He was correct. I love the pop of color, when it peeks out. 
  • 1 vintage button
  • Two yards of wool blend - $16
  • Fusible Interfacing

Construction Time:
  • Three hours, including the hand-sewn zipper and hem.