I Said a Hip Hop, Hippie to the Hippie, the Hip, Hip a Hop…

So, the Blog Hop.  You’ve seen it around lately.  Well, the lovely and talented Margo from Creating in the Gap kindly nominated me a few weeks back.  (Thanks Margo!)  But being the procrastinor that I am, I’m just now getting around to writing my own Blog Hop post.

Around the Studio

~ I wasn’t quite sure what photos to use for this post. So I snapped some shots from what’s currently happening in my studio. ~

Why Do I Write?

I started my blog during the Sew Colette sewalong in 2012.  I really enjoyed participating in that challenge, and it made me realize I wanted a place to keep track of my progress, and an avenue to connect with others in the online sewing community.  I’m also naturally a shy person, so blogging was a way to push my boundaries I guess you could say.

From a more technical standpoint, the blogging platform gives me a place to write for myself.  My work involves a lot of writing.  But it’s never in my voice.  So this lets me practice a different writing style.

Around the Studio

~Projects lined up on my shelf and waiting for attention.~

What am I working on now?

Right now, I’m sewing a pleated skirt, using Butterick 5613.  The next big project I have planned is Vogue 1419, aka the Ralph Rucci coat.

Around the Studio

How does my blog differ from other sewing blogs?

Content wise, I don’t think my blog is wildly different from a typical sewing blog.  I make stuff and then post about what I’ve made.   Sometimes I do tutorials.  I’ve got a career that I love (and that supports my sewing habit), so I have zero interest in turning my blog or my sewing into a job or business.  But I admire the ladies that are doing this!  I think it’s gutsy and awesome that they are working hard to bring more options to our sewing tables.

Around the Studio

~The Butterick 5613 skirt in progress.~

One thing I’ve made a conscious effort to do with my blog is to leave negative body talk out.  I had an experience in a sewing class where several women spoke poorly about themselves and others, and it was exhausting to listen to after a while. So, when I write, I try not to talk about my body (or anyone else’s) in a negative way.  To be clear, I don’t think sewing bloggers are sending out bad messages regarding body image – in fact I think it’s the exact opposite!  It’s because of sewing and the blogging community that I’ve developed a much healthier attitude towards my own body.  No longer do I go into a dressing room and pull on a pair of ill-fitting pants and think the problem is my legs, or butt, or whatever. Now I diagnose the problem as an issue with the pants.

Around the Studio

~The Vogue 1419 coat pattern waiting to be traced and muslined. ~

How does my writing process work?

My process is very unstructured.  If I’m in the mood to write, and if I’ve got pictures, I’ll draft a post.  I never write in the morning.  Usually it’s later at night or occasionally on a weekend afternoon.  I don’t write posts in advance.  And I don’t have a schedule for how often to post, or a plan for what topics to write about.  As for picture taking, that’s also pretty lax.  I use a tripod and will either take pics in the morning if I have time, or in the evening after work if I feel up to it.  I suppose this makes me a bad blogger, but it doesn’t bother me.

I think that I used to write more “in progress” type posts.  But over the past few months, I’ve moved towards Instagram for that type of content.  So if you want, feel free to follow me there.  My username is marrieb.  :)

As for the nuts and bolts of my writing, I typically look through my photos and flag/edit the ones I think I want to use.  Then I write the text of my post.  After that, I go back and insert the pictures.  Nothing earth shattering here.  :)

Around the Studio

~An abandoned knitting project.  It’s a cardigan, that just needs the second sleeve.~

My Nominations.

Because it took me a while to get to this post, and because the Blog Hop has made the rounds pretty well, I think I’m going to skip the nominations.  I know, lame.  :{

So, instead tell me, what’s currently on your sewing table?

Around the Studio

~Mine is stacked with fabrics and notions from my trip to NYC.  I need to serge the edges and wash these so I can put them away.~

Completed: V-Neck Emery Dress

Guess what, I made another Emery Dress hack!  I know, I’m surprising no one with this.

V-Neck Emery

But this dress is special because it’s NYC bound!

V-Neck Emery

Yep, next Saturday, I’ll be shopping in the garment district!  I’m so excited, and can’t believe the trip is only a week away! Broadway shows are also on our agenda, so I wanted to make a new dress to wear.

V-Neck Emery

For this version of Emery, I re-drew the neckline into a v-neck, and added the skirt from Simplicity 2444.

V-Neck Emery

I found the fabric at a local shop.  I’m pretty sure its 100% poly, but I liked the texture and color.

V-Neck Emery

Because the fabric is pretty heavy, I knew gathers wouldn’t work.  So that’s why I used the Simplicity 2444 skirt. Now that the dress is finished, I’m wondering how a half-circle skirt would have looked.  I also made a tie belt, but am not sure if I like it.

V-Neck Emery

I stabilized the v-neck with twill tape, and it worked well.  It doesn’t gape, which is nice.

V-Neck Emery

I kept the finishes pretty simple.  The bodice is lined per the Emery instructions.  I finished the armholes by sewing them on my machine using this method from Colette patterns.

V-Neck Emery
V-Neck Emery

I also used lace hem tape.  I haven’t used this stuff in a while and I forgot how easy it is.

V-Neck Emery

The other bonus to this fabric is that it’s wrinkle resistant, and with the crinkly texture, any wrinkles it does get won’t really show.  So it will pack well.  Speaking of packing, I’m trying to plan strategically so I have enough room in my bag to bring fabric home!

V-Neck Emery

Along those lines, does anyone have tips or suggestions for the garment district?  I’m putting together a list of stores and a list of fabrics I want to look for. I plan to wear comfy shoes and am prepared to be overwhelmed – hopefully in a good way! :)

*Also, if any locals feel like venturing out for some fabric shopping, shoot me an email, we’ll probably start at Mood around 10 a.m. on Saturday.*

Completed: Machine Repair Class

Whew, the past few days have been exhausting.  A couple months ago, I mentioned that I’d picked up an old sewing machine and was going to take a repair class.  Well, last week, the time finally came, I packed up my machine and flew to Portland for the class.

IMG_20140903_163714

Waiting for the plane. Security will give you a funny look when you travel with a sewing machine in your carry on.

It was a very intense three days.  I’m not very mechanical by nature, so I really had to pay attention.  The class was taught by Ray White, who is truly an expert when it comes to machine repair.  He’s also a great teacher.   I had so many lightbulb moments, and I feel like I actually understand how a sewing machine works now.  I’m also not afraid to open one up and poke around inside.

20140906_123404

Since I had flown in for the class I was only able to take one machine with me.  So on the last day of class, when we were set loose to practice what we’d learned, one of my fellow students lent me this old Singer to work on.

20140906_155400

It was pretty dirty inside when I started.

20140906_123347

But it cleaned up nicely, and it works!  This machine actually belongs to a charity thrift shop, so it will go back there, and hopefully now can bring in a little higher price than before.

20140906_125550

It’s hard to boil what I learned down to a few tips, but one thing I learned was the importance of a new needle.  You would be amazed — seriously amazed — at how important this one little thing can be.  So, before your next project, go put a new needle in your machine, it will thank you for it!

Tribute August: McCall 2401

For Tribute August, I wanted to create a dress inspired by one of my favorite bloggers, Carolyn from Diary of a Sewing Fanatic.  I love the beautiful garments she creates for herself, and in particular her lovely, work appropriate sheath dresses. A sheath dress has been on my sewing list for a long time.  So I finally made one.
LWD

The pattern I used is McCall 2401.

McCall 2401

The pattern envelope is pretty uninspiring, but I think this pattern is really versatile and will work with a lot of different fabrics.  (Hopefully one day this will become a TNT.)

LWD

Although I made a muslin, I still have some fit issues with the shoulder/sleeve area to work out for next time.  There’s a wrinkle of extra fabric running from the shoulder to the bust.  (I did a narrow shoulder adjustment, but I don’t think it was big enough.)

LWD

And the sleeves wrinkle at the back.  I think I just need to rotate the sleeve in the armhole to fix this.
LWD

For this dress, I’ll just toss on a cardigan, and ignore the problems.  :)
LWD

The fabric is a linen/rayon blend I got from The Fabric Store in LA.  It doesn’t come through in the pics very well, but the fabric has a slight sheen to it that is really pretty.
LWD
LWD

I underlined the entire dress with light cotton.  I was hoping this would help with the wrinkle factor.  I think silk organza would have been a better choice, but I find organza terribly itchy.  So I went with the cotton.  The dress is very comfortable, even if the hem is annoyingly wrinkly.

LWD

LWD

Here’s a few flat/inside shots.

LWD
LWD

LWD

Hand picked lapped zipper.

LWDLWD

LWD

Facings finished with Bemberg bias strips.

This dress will also be my last official summer garment.  Even though the weather is still warm here, I’m ready for fall and fall sewing!
LWD

Completed: The Bird Dress (Simplicity 2444)

My last dress might not have turned out so well, but I’ve forgotten all about that because I love this one!  Seriously love it.  It may be one of my favorite things I’ve made.

Bird Dress

I think what makes this dress is the fabric.  It’s 100% cotton and I purchased it at The Fabric Store during the LA Sewist meetup.

Bird dress

To be honest, when I picked it out I didn’t even notice that it it had birds on it!  I thought it was just a neat geometric print.  Once I realized it was birds though, I liked it even more!

Bird dress

It’s not obvious from the pictures, but in addition to the birds, the fabric has a really cool rippled texture.  It’s like 3D fabric.  Some spots are thick and others very thin, to the point where it’s a little sheer.

Bird dress

After a lot of deliberation, I decided to pair the fabric with Simplicity 2444.  I thought the full skirt would really let the birds shine.

Bird dress

I’ve sewn this pattern before.  Even so, I had to re-muslin the bodice because my last fabric was a stretch cotton, and I knew I’d need more ease for this stable bird fabric.  I’m glad I took the time to do it, now I’ll be ready to sew S2444 in any fabric.

Bird dress
Bird dress

One thing I changed this time was to cut the front skirt on the fold, rather than have a seam down the front.  I like this so much better.  The skirt also hangs nicer and flows better when I walk.  Oh, and it’s got pockets!

Bird dress

I didn’t try to match the pattern across the back, but it turned out pretty good!  Happy accident, there.  :)

Bird dress

Here’s the dress flat:

Bird Dress Details

I hand-picked the lapped zipper.

Bird Dress Details

Onto the inside.  I underlined the bodice with a light cotton, and left the skirt unlined.

Bird Dress Details
Bird Dress Details

The armholes are finished with bias strips cut from bemberg rayon.  It’s kind of a pain to make bias tape with this stuff, but I love that it doesn’t add any bulk.

Bird Dress Details

I also used the bemberg bias strips to finish the edge of my facings, and on the hem.

Bird Dress Details
Bird Dress Details

I didn’t have a matching blue belt so I paired it with mint green and a blue sweater to wear to work yesterday.  Next time I might try red accessories.

Bird dress

It feels great to have a sewing win after my last disappointment.   And really, how can I not be happy when I’ve got a flock of birds cascading down my dress?

Bird dress
Next up, I’ve got something in store for Tribute Month. . . .