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Pink Brocade Peplum Top

This weekend Adam and I went to Vegas. I had dreams of a cute little cocktail dress out of this beautiful pink brocade that I had in my stash. I pictured something tight, short, sexy, and, well, Vegas. And this is what I ended up with. A fairly modest, slightly peplum top with a belt and bow and vintage flair. Oh well. I made the pants to go with it, but I think I may need to make a little pencil skirt instead to make the ensemble a little sexier. I started out by making the skanky dress I had in my head. It was mostly self-drafted, but took cues from Gertie’s Wiggle Dress (which I have previously made to great success). But when I put it on, it looked horrible. Even Adam, who will only ever say nice things about how I look, couldn’t find anything nice to say. …

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5 Tips for Using a Bias Binding Foot

I have an assortment of specialty sewing machine feet, most of them given to me by my mom (thanks, ma!). I’ve been working on a project that has involved a LOT of bias tape. So, I’ve been using my bias binding foot. If you have a foot yourself (or plan on getting one, or are just curious to know a little more), I’ve put together a list of tricks that I figured out while sewing with this foot. 1. Use a seam ripper to help you thread the tape into the machine. The first step is to thread your bias tape into the bias tape foot. I found this quite frustrating initially as I couldn’t get it through the other end enough to get a grip on it. So, I turned to my seam ripper. When I got the tape close to the end of the feeder I stabbed the seam …

Grainline Archer Shirt-Dress

Another Monday, another Archer. I sewed this out of a heavy rayon challis in forest green that was a gift and in my stash. The fact that it looks a whole lot like the shirt on the pattern envelope was something that escaped me until writing up this blog post. I decided to add 9″ to the pattern so that it could be a dress.

My Me-Made-May 2013 Pledge

 I, Seamstress Erin of SeamstressErin.com, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’13. I endeavour to wear a handmade garment each day for the duration of May 2013 I’ve been admiring other bloggers doing Me Made May for a couple of years now and I’m excited to take part myself this year! (Not familiar with MMM? Read Zoe’s explanation.) If you want to follow along closely, I’ll be posting a photo every day on Flickr and taking part in conversations on twitter with #MMMay13. I’ll blog a few summaries during the month, and I’m sure I’ll have some concluding thoughts at the end!

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Clean Your Sewing Machine with a Pipe Cleaner

Seriously. The title says it all. Clean your sewing machine with a pipe cleaner. It’s the best way that I have found to get lint out of a bobbin case. I give my bobbin case a quick swipe with my pipe cleaner every time I change the bobbin. Doesn’t take but a moment and it really gets the lint out! I’m serious you guys, go try it, and quit looking at me like I’m crazy! I mean, I know I might be crazy, but this pipe-cleaner-bobbin-case-thing isn’t an example of that!

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Archer Blouse from Bangladeshi Fabric

I’ve made button front blouses with collars and placketed sleeves before but never this well. This blouse is perfection. Seriously. I set myself the goal of sewing perfect things in 2013 and this makes it high on the list. I’m in love. (My new blouse is shown here with my curtain panel skirt.)

How to Draft and Sew a Sleeve Facing

Have I mentioned yet that I’m in love with my Mad Men Joan dress? So much so that I wrote a tutorial for drafting sleeve flounces so I can spread the love. The only problem with inserting these pretty arm flounces onto a dress sleeve is that when the flounce flops around, as it looks so beautiful doing, you are liable to catch a big ol’ glimpse of the seam where you sewed the flounce onto the sleeve, and that’s not as beautiful. So, sleeve facings to the rescue!

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How to Draft Sleeve Flounces

For my Mad Men inspired dress, I simply had to have flounces on the sleeves, which I drafted myself and added to a commercial pattern. I’ve written a tutorial so you can do the same!

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Mad Men Joan Dress

I’ve made my Mad Men Challenge Dress. Phew. I used Gertie’s Wiggle Dress as the pattern with only minor fit changes (changed the hip shape and added 1/2 inch to the front at the shoulder). The pattern uses dolman sleeves with an armpit gusset for fit. I didn’t get the shoulders fit perfectly as mine are much stronger than the pattern intends, but I’ve got some ideas about how to make the fit perfect next time.

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1942 Hollywood Patterns Shirtwaist Dress

I now present to you my 1940’s dress for Sew for Victory. It’s from Hollywood Patterns (No. 855), from May 1942, endorsed by Betty Grable of 20th Century Fox. Honestly, I’m not that enamored with this dress. I was talked into the fabric, a quilting cotton, by a woman at the fabric store but I really should have stuck to my guns and gone to another store to find a nice rayon. When I first envisioned this dress, I wanted it to be something I could wear to seduce Sam Spade. I feel like it ends up making me look like I should be out back mucking out a chicken coop. I settled on working for the war effort as a compromise.

2

Ziggy Stardust Inspired Outfit

When I heard about Tempest’s Bowie Sew Along I immediately knew that I had to do something inspired by Ziggy Stardust for it is the best album ever made. Period. Of course I had a billion other ideas inspired by all sorts of other incarnations of David Bowie (including plenty inspired by The Labyrinth, for David Bowie in that movie is my definition of sex god, but I’ll save that discussion for another time), but I had to pick one for now . (If you want to get inspired, and you really should, go check out Tempest’s Bowie Sew Along Inspiration Board). I ended up making my take on a knit one-arm one-leg jumper that Bowie wore during the Ziggy Stardust tour. I made a one-arm t-shirt from my own pattern using stripes of three different fabrics. For the skirt, I folded over a piece of the red fabric for …

2

March Sewalongs

I may have bitten off more than I can chew for this month. But there are so many fun sewalongs that I simply can’t say no!  For the stashbusting sewalong, I’ve already made a skirt that would qualify for this month’s theme of impending seasonal change. However, when I first saw the theme, I thought immediately thought of making a hoodie tunic with kangaroo pocket out of pink and grey plaid from my stash. So, I’m not going to let myself get out of using it up!

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Cake’s Tiramisu Dress

I think Cake’s Tiramisu dress pattern is great. It’s a wonderful blend of fun and flirty and functional. The construction instructions are clear and the sizing allows for fit on many different bodies. Unfortunately, I just don’t like how it looks on my body. I had misgivings when planning the dress but I so badly wanted it to be cute on me like it is on so many women that I went ahead and sewed it. I finished the dress and, just as I thought, it looks good on every body type but pear, and I happen to be a pear. Oh well.

3

Pink Pleated Maxi Skirt

This pink pleated maxi skirt was a quick-and-simple project that wasn’t actually all that quick to sew up. But I’m happy with the time spent on it as I think it will be a wardrobe staple. Ok, so I admit that sheer striped pepto-bismol-pink maxi skirts aren’t wardrobe staples for everyone. But it will be for me!

Apple Bottom Skirt

I found this fabric recently on super-sale and couldn’t pass it up. I know that it’s probably better suited for a jumper for a 6-year-old, but I don’t care. And since it’s kitschy, I had to make it scream kitsch. So I took the fuschia skinny-wale corduroy with green apple print and added green corduroy accents to the hem, pockets, and belt loops. Oh yeah, and I added gigantic apple pockets to the bottom.

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Roses on Black Shirtwaist Dress

I made this vintage-style shirtwaist dress form Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. Like my bow-neck blouse from the same book (and made from the same stashed cotton-rayon blend fabric, incidentally), I thought I didn’t like it as I was finishing it up. However, I find myself having worn the dress several times already, so, fortunately, my initial opinion has been proven wrong!

Yellow Twill Skirt

This is a wearable muslin for a pattern I drafted for a trouser skirt. I know that “wearable muslin” is a contentious term, but that’s exactly what this is and I think it serves a purpose. Since I drafted the pattern myself, I need to wear it around for a bit to see how the fit works with use. I know it works if I’m standing still in front of the mirror, but I want to know about fit while sitting, riding my scooter, walking around.

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Red Scalloped High Waist Pencil Skirt

I added scallops to the pattern I made from Gertie’s New Book to make a red pencil skirt, just in time for Valentine’s Day. (Yes, I just posted this picture a few days ago, but that was about the blouse and this is about the skirt, so you get to see it again!) While I’m always drawn to patterns, I think that a solid colored pencil skirt (or a few!) will be a nice addition to my wardrobe as I can easily pair patterned tops with a solid bottom. And the scallops give it a bit of personality that it might otherwise lack.

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Bow Neck Blouse

I made the bow neck blouse from Gertie’s New Book for Better Sewing. I was frustrated and disappointed by the time I finished the blouse. But now that I’ve worn it a couple of times, I wish I could take back those emotions, because I disagree now. I really like the blouse! The fabric is a cotton-rayon blend (I’m guessing) and a gift from a friend.

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Sew Grateful For Mom Blouse

 My sew grateful project is for my mom. Who better to show my appreciation than the woman who sewed my clothes as a kid, let me raid her fabric stash when I decided I wanted to start sewing as a tween, and taught me how to read a pattern and do things right when I finally had the patience to ask for help as a teenager.

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Sweaters Blanket Tutorial

For Sew Grateful week I want to re-share a tutorial I put together a couple of months ago for a blanket made out of sweaters. I’ve made it for my home and for several important people in my life. It’s simple to sew, fun and appropriate for all levels of sewers. It’s also easy to really give it your own aesthetic based on your choice of old sweaters. If you make up the blanket, let me know!

Block of the Month Quilt

My mom and decided to do a long-distance project together. Since she’s always trying to get me into quilting, we chose to each piece Craftsy’s 2012 Block of the Month quilt, offered as a free video class. Yes, they have a 2013 quilt class too, but neither I nor my mom like the quilt as much. And, the 2012 quilt has an adjoining quilting class that teaches you how to longarm quilt using the 2012 block of the month quilt. I have to get the entire top pieced first and my mom and I are doing it month-by-month even though all the months are published, so don’t hold your breath waiting to see my first attempt at longarm quilting!

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My Stash is Out of Control

As part of my Organize January mission, and inspired by the stashbusting sewalong, I decided to take every piece of fabric I own off the shelf, measure it, organize it into piles, fold it back on the shelf, and make a spreadsheet quantifying my stash. Oh my goodness I have a lot of fabric. I have 254 yards of stashed fabric. Even I will admit that it’s a bit excessive. If I don’t count fabric that I have been given and don’t count fabric that I’ve had since highschool, it leaves me with 100 yards. That’s still a lot. So, I’m putting it out to the world that I’m happy to share my fabric! I’ve photographed everything and listed a description and yardage in the same order as the picture.  So, if anything catches your eye, let me know!!

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Baby Shoes Galore!

I got a little carried away this weekend cutting and sewing baby shoes! I decided to participate in the stashbusting sewalong and baby shoes seemed like a good way to use scraps, January’s stashbusting theme. I sat down on Saturday with my friend Beth to catch up on Season 7 of Doctor Who and while we were watching I went through my scrap bin and just kept cutting and cutting and cutting.

4

Autumnal Wool Floral Pencil Skirt

I am so very excited about this skirt! I found the fabric at SewExpo last year. I don’t remember the vendor and I don’t remember the exact fiber content other than mostly wool. I’ve known since June that I wanted to make a pencil skirt out of it and have finally done so. I love the print on this fabric, especially the fact that, while it is certainly mostly brown tone, there is a significant amount of black so I can wear it with both brown and black.

Pant Construction Techniques Class Review

I’ve seen many sewing bloggers write that they intend to tackle trousers this year. Might I make a suggestion? Treat yourself to a Craftsy class by Sandra Betzina on Pant Construction Techniques. (If you’re not an expert on fitting pants, you might want to try her class on Pant Fitting first). The class is a wealth of information helpful for any pair of pants you might want to construct in the future, certainly not limited to the pattern that they send you with class registration. In fact, I sewed a pair of trousers while watching the class and found her construction techniques to be very helpful.

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Black Velvet Trousers

I’ve decided that my sewing focus for this coming year is technique. I want to focus on perfection in my sewn goods. I’ve started off with a pair of black velvet trousers, Of course, it’s the exact wrong item to show off my focus on technique since it’s gosh darn difficult to take pictures of black velvet. But here goes nothing.

Handmade Hanukkah Gifts

I made it home in time this year to celebrate the last night of Hanukkah and I was spoiled rotten by my godfamily. I got a lovely assortment of handmade gifts. My Godmother was quipping that it was like bringing coals to Newcastle, but I completely disagree. I love love love to get handmade gifts even if I could have made something similar myself because I didn’t make them, someone that I love invested their time and energy and love into making them for me. As a crafter/knitter/seamstress I can truly appreciate the time and energy and love that goes into making such things and I can be that much more grateful for them.

Suitcase Cozy

Are you concerned about your beautiful vintage suitcase that you’re totally and completely and utterly in love with getting dinged up while traveling for the holidays? Because I am. So, I decided to make a suitcase cozy to keep it protected! Here I’ve written up a simple tutorial (with no measuring required!) so you can do the same!

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Grey Wool Thurlow Shorts

I’ve managed to squeeze in a bit of time to sew for myself this month, even though most of my free time has been full of making Christmas gifts. I made another pair of thurlow shorts to wear for winter. This time I used some grey wool that I pulled from my stash that my mom bought forever ago (25 years?). I used the rest of it last year to recover the seats of our dining room chairs.