Monday, May 12, 2014

Project Sewn Week Two: Floral Frenzy

This week's Project Sewn challenge is florals. Hm. I haven't worn much for florals in, well, forever, so I went hunting for something with flowers that I also liked and thought I would wear. I bought 5 prints. Maybe a little overboard for a single challenge? Most of them are still sitting in my stash piles, waiting for me to decide what they might become. Two are rayon challis, which is lovely and soft and drapey. And I hate trying to cut it. I made a zippy top out of a pretty purple and neutrals floral, but rayon challis slips and slides during pinning, during cutting, during sewing... In the end it did come out okay, but by going with my bust measurement it was a size or so too big everywhere else. I've worn it, but decided I wasn't happy enough with it for this challenge and I didn't feel like taking it apart to remake the neckline. Plus by the end of the first day I wore it, Ellie had pulled on the neckline and broken my zipper stitching. Guess that didn't get enough care and attention. On with more planning! Which came to a screeching halt when I ended up testing a pattern last week, and suddenly realized that oops! I don't have anything flowered. So I whipped this up so I'd at least have something to show!

There was a flower in my hair courtesy of a small princess, but it didn't show up in the photo. Darn.
When this fabric arrived, the flowers were bigger than I realized. Score one for not checking the swatch with the measurement markings. It's a rayon cotton blend with gold and turquoise batik and gold embroidery.

Up close and personal so you can see the embroidery details.
Since it wasn't going to work for the dress I'd envisioned, and for the life of me I could not find a solid I liked with it in a comparable weight, it sat around while I bought a couple more fabrics. This weekend it came to the rescue as this super simple wrap skirt.

You may have noticed, I'm barefoot again this week.
The skirt is full of cheating as far as finishing details (or lack thereof) because I started it in a hurry trying to get it done before going out on Saturday afternoon. The front edge is actually the selvedge, and the inner wrapped edge is simply serged. Originally I tried making it with two full fabric widths so that I could leave both selvedges, but it was way too much fabric, and that bit was my undoing while hurrying along on Saturday morning. (As a side note, this turned out to be a good thing. It suddenly opened up and poured at the festival we were at, and this would probably be a hinderance while herding small children in the pouring rain.) The hem is serged and folded up once to limit the loss of length in a hem, and the waist is self bound with a pieced strip of fabric that is also the ties. I added quick and dirty belt loops onto the inside back waist to hold the waistband and wrap around piece of the tie together.

Must be time to end the photo shoot and play.
I finished Sunday morning, so I had no husband around to take pictures. These are all courtesy of the self timer. (In related news, I could really use a new and nicer camera! This one does fine for the time being though.) I really like this skirt. So simple, so fast, and so comfy! Grand total even with setbacks, this only took me a couple of hours to put together. It could easily be fancy, but with a simple tee and a ribbon choker it's right at home in the grass with little princesses.

Monday, May 5, 2014

Project Sewn Week One: Leading Ladies Challenge

Week 1 of Project Sewn has arrived! And I'm actually ready to post at the beginning of the week. Shocking, I know. ;) The first week challenge is the leading ladies challenge.
"The Leading Ladies Challenge---make a look inspired by a leading lady from the movies. (This doesn't mean it has to be an exact replica, although it can be, but only needs to be "inspired" by your feature film leading lady."

Finding a leading lady for inspiration took some thought. My first thought was a panicked "but... I don't movie!" I don't watch much for movies these days, and haven't seen anything in a theater for a couple of years or more. So I started going through the tried and true favorites, and came up with... Lord of the Rings. Hold on. How do you make an everyday summer outfit based on those dresses? Gorgeous, and I've used them for inspiration when making medieval styles, but not for daily outfits. But I'm up for a challenge, so I sifted through a bunch of photos of Arwen, Eowyn, Galadriel, and Tauriel from Desolation of Smaug. Eventually I settled on this photo of Eowyn.

It's not technically featured in the movies, since most of the scenes with it were cut, but it's still become an often used photo, and I decided it was something I could work with. And this is what I came up with. Definitely inspired by and not a replica!

Yeah, I totally wore my Chucks with this because we walked to the park. That is why in most of these I'm barefoot.

What's that, Mommy is trying to do something without me? Nope, don't think so.
Eowyn's dress was made of a silk jacquard gauze. No way am I getting anything like that, so the dress became a boho style knee length skirt. I used an embroidered cotton voile for the main skirt fabric, and used a different specialty cotton in the bottom, a la a lace inset. The skirt absolutely needed a lining, so it's lined about halfway down in muslin. It didn't come out quite the way I envisioned. The cotton lawn doesn't quite have the drape I was hoping for, maybe because of the stiffer muslin lining, but it's still so pretty and will definitely see a lot of use this summer.
Please excuse the hint of bra that decided to peek out.
I turned the bodice over the dress into a tank top - not exactly a stretch. The brown knit was leftover from another project, and I used a brown quilting cotton for the straps. I loved that I found this pattern that looks lace-like to go with the feel of the skirt and the lacy inset detail. It is self lined up top, and I considered making a built in bra, but I wasn't convinced that the fabric was sturdy enough to take it. I'll spare you an up close look at my top stitching, it's a skill I'm still perfecting! One of the straps ended up at a slightly wrong angle in the back, but I didn't feel like unpicking the serged seam since it looks fine.

This is the first outfit I've ever made totally without a pattern or tutorial, and while there are definitely things I'd do differently next time, I'm really pleased with how this outfit came together.