Saving a Project (Make it Work, People)

 

 

 

Recently, in the middle of a pattern test and faced with a looming deadline, my serger ate my homework.  YIKES!  Happily sewing along, and not drinking a glass of wine, and I allowed my project to veer off to the side and slice into a sleeve.  A sleeve of beautiful, beautiful feathers that I’ve been {hoarding} saving for the perfect fall project.  I had to dump the top and move on to new fabric, because, it was a pattern test, that involves completing a project as written, no mods or hacks in the testing process.

But, as mentioned, beautiful, beautiful feathers.  There was no way that my beautiful feathers weren’t going to {finally after 2 years of shelf sitting} make it into my fall wardrobe.

After I finished my pattern test and my tears stopped falling, I picked up aforementioned beautiful feathers and considered ways to save the garment.  Now, I will be the first to admit that I run hot.   H-O-T, hot.  Like temperature hot.  Not, “DAMNNNNN….” hot.  I mean, that too obviously; but I digress.  I don’t often wear an actual long sleeve sweater in the fall.  I typically don’t wear a sweater until probably December at the earliest, maybe January.  But, feathers.

So, I laid the top out and took a look at where the dolman sleeves curve into the body of the sweater and thought it might work best as a shorter sleeve for me anyhow.  So, I carefully measured both sides and used my straight edge and rotary cutter to cut the sleeve off at the same spot on both sides.  I used my tape measure to measure the remaining sleeve circle and took 80% of that number to make a cuff.  (I used 5″ length by that number width.)  I serged together the short ends of the cuff, pressed the resulting circle wrong sides together and then lined up the cuff raw edges with the cut edge of the sleeve of the sweater, pinned evenly and serged on to attach.

What I ended up with was a perfect Seamingly Smitten Women’s Cocoon Cardigan for me to wear in the fall.  And, of course, beautiful, beautiful feathers, from Purpleseamstress Fabrics and {hoarded} saved for this, the perfect fall project for me!

 

 

Do you go back and spend time to save projects that made you cry?  Or, do they end up in a bin of sad?  I admit, I don’t always go back to save things that I’ve deemed a “fail,” but with a special fabric, it is hard not to.  What solutions have you come up with to save projects?  I’d love to hear your tips and experiences!

Family Photos: Choosing a Color Story

 

 

 

Every year, sometime in August, {or September} I realize that I would really love to have some gorgeous family photos taken. So that I can have a beautiful Christmas card, so that all my family and friends will {be very jealous} know how much we care about them and want them to have a magical holiday season. But, as you know, every photographer is booked for fall photos by June or at the very  latest, July.  This year, though I can’t explain it, I remembered to schedule our appointment!  I’m lucky enough to have a very talented friend, Kami Nicholson, owner of White Lotus Studios, here in Greater Cincinnati, and she fit us in a couple of weeks ago at a scenic park in the area.

Since it was in the area, I had a good idea what the scenery was and the colors that would surround us in the final photos.  I knew that I wanted our family to be the focus of the photos obviously so I wanted to have some saturated color that would stand out but not clash or compete with the gorgeous surroundings.  Since I definitely wanted a fall tone to the photos, I determined that I wanted to stay within a “fall” color family.  That took me directly to my fabric collection and my swatch sheets (thanks to Mel at Purpleseamstress Fabrics).  After some fabric gazing, and some Pinterest-ing, I settled on a collection of colors that complimented each other nicely, stood out from nature, didn’t scream at anyone and still clearly, but softly said, “fallllll.”

Below, see my luscious pile of fabrics awaiting their new life!  I knew I didn’t want to make something for my husband.  I feel pretty bad about it, but I rarely sew for him.  This man is tall.  I mean, like a tree, or a basketball hoop tall.  Six feet, eight inches people.  So, I gave him color instructions and this photo and sent him on his way to find himself a pretty shirt.

My little Bear was eazzzzy!  I knew immediately that I wanted the Peekaboo Pattern Shop Varsity Cowl Neck Pullover.  So handsome, so casual but put together.  All the heart eyes for Little Bear in this pattern!  I also knew that I wanted to use that mustard and gray for him.  I’m loving mustard gold these days and the gray up by his face – I mean, really – look at those EYES!!

Sweet Bug.  That child loves magenta, so I knew that was the way to go for her.  I love the simplicity and versatility of the Made for Mermaids Mya Pattern for girls and thought it would be perfect with some boho trim and her boots.  Big Daddy scored the denim jacket on clearance at Target last spring (cheeeeeeap).  I added in the scarf (using scraps from the floral and the mustard gold) as a way to tie her dress to Bear’s & Big Daddy’s shirts as well as my dress.  Perfect!

Next, the toughest decisions of all!  I find it so easy to choose colors and patterns that will work for others, but soooo much harder for myself.  I can’t be the only one though.  Do you experience this?  I went into some detail about my ensemble in a previous post, From a Night Out to Family Photos, so I won’t repeat myself, but in a nutshell – gorgeous fabric (thank you Knitpop), perfect colors, a change in plans = floral scuba Patterns for Pirates Essential Tank (in dress length with about 4 inches added to the hem) and more of the magenta cotton/lycra that I used for Bug’s dress in a Patterns for Pirates Carefree Cardigan.  I added the gorgeous boho trim from Fabric Outlet (scored on a Thrifty Thursday sale day) that I also used on Bug’s dress.  The colors in the dress tied everything together so nicely – Big Daddy’s new shirt, Bear’s gold pullover and Bug’s magenta dress.

Mad props to Big Daddy for the perfect shirt!  Big Daddy’s Big Daddy – Poppa, my late father in law worked in the garment industry his whole life, folks.  His whollllle life.  From childhood on.  Big Daddy knows a thing or two about fashion.

And a big round of applause, please, for our EXTRAORDINARY photographer, Kami Nicholson, owner of White Lotus Studios, for such amazing work.  She clearly captured every one of us.  It was HOT that day, you guys, over 80 degrees.  And we were overdressed for the weather to say the least.  Bear is barely 4 years old, but she kept him entertained and cooperative for the entire shoot.  And it brought amazing results.  And, in our house, Kami is officially Mrs. Kami Camera.  Maybe she should change her company name?  It’s so catchy!

Do you go through a color selection process before family photos?  How do you decide what you want for your family?  Or, do you, like me, forget to schedule your family photos every year until you see the people who have, like, calendars and stuff, posting their photos, and say to yourself, “DARN!  I really meant to do that!”

Seamingly Smitten Women’s Cocoon Cardigan

 

 

 

I was honored once again to be invited to test the newest pattern by Jenny of Seamingly Smitten!  Seamingly Smitten, one of the first PDF pattern companies has over 70 unique patterns for women and children.  In the past, I’ve made the Lesley Flutter Top, the Raglan Sleeve Split Neck Top, and the Women’s Draped Cardigan.  I also tested the stunning Women’s Off the Shoulder Top and the gorgeous Cold Shoulder Top.  {HINT: if you aren’t a member of the Seamingly Smitten Facebook group, go join now for special access to the Cold Shoulder Top for FREE!}

Women’s Cold Shoulder Top
Women’s Off the Shoulder Top

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This time, with fall quickly approaching (presumably – though it is still 90 here in OHIO), I was challenged with a Cocoon Cardigan.  These cocoon cardigans are quite on trend and can be seen all over the place!

This cozy cardigan is a dolman sleeve and features a roomy, comfy design that is perfect for the approaching cooler weather!

AND, what??  A hood?  So cozy!

The hood is optional and the tutorial includes instructions for finishing without the hood {but, who would DO such a thing}.  There are also options for a straight hem front, curved hem front and a straight hem or high/low hem back.  I chose the curved hem front and the straight hem back.  I will definitely be trying the high/low option next.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The fabric I chose for the front is a bright chevron poly knit and the back is a coordinating navy cotton lycra.  I actually chose that combo due to the very limited amount I had of the chevron, but I think the navy works with it beautifully.  The hood is fully lined, which I love as it gives me another opportunity to use both fabrics together.  I’m calling this my “January Sweater;” I loooove wearing blue shades in January, I don’t know what it is.  Maybe the crisp freshness of the new year after the holidays?  What fabric would you use to make your cozy Women’s Hooded Cocoon Cardigan?

From a Night Out to Family Photos

 

 

 

Have you ever been searching through your pattern collection to find that perfect dress for a wedding, fundraiser or special date night?  Gone searching online through all your favorite designers for the perfect pattern to meet a specific need?

Recently, I was sewing frantically to complete outfits for our impending family photo session, (which incidentally had been scheduled for months, so why was I sewing frantically?  maybe a post for another day…) when my husband called to tell me we had been invited to a fabulous formal fundraiser event in TWO DAYS.

I went from frantically sewing to….yep, planning to sew frantically!  I had planned a Made for Mermaids Chloe Skirt (free with membership in the M4M FB Group) out of a gorgeous floral scuba I had scored from Knitpop and a Patterns for Pirates Carefree Cardigan.  BUT, I really did want to go to the event and with only 2 days, I didn’t have buy or order something to wear AND still sew outfits for family photos.  SO, I revised my plan.  I decided to go with the P4P Essential Tank and do some fancy schmancy styling to make it work for both my fancy schmancy date night and more casual family photos.

For the fundraiser, I sewed up the Essential Tank in dress length with an added 4 inches.  I used the traditional binding method to give a nice, clean finish as opposed to the more casual, t-shirt style bands.

I wore my dress and felt gorgeous and got loads of compliments – the fundraiser was held at our local Zoo & Botanical Gardens and had a floral & wild theme, so the fabric was perfect.  I also met a bird named Sydney!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next day was time to turn my dress more boho and casual for our family photos.  I had chosen mustard, magenta, gray & navy for a color scheme (more on that to come in a future post, *UPDATE* Here is the link to the family photo post: Family Photos: Choosing a Color Story).  So, my first step was to go ahead with my P4P Carefree Cardigan in a magenta cotton lycra from Purpleseamstress Fabric to bring out the magenta tones in the dress.  In the photos above, I wore a plum lace wrap, which brings out the plum, lilac and purple tones in the fabric, but those aren’t the colors I wanted popping for family photos.

The next step was to add a lace trim to the bottom hem of the skirt.  The session was held in a park, and I wanted a somewhat casual, autumn look.  I also wanted to use the lace trim to tie my outfit more firmly to that of my daughter’s (more to come in another post).  Between the cardigan, made with 3/4 sleeves and neckband only as well as leaving the bottom hem only served with a gray contrast thread gave a much different feel.

I’m really thrilled with the way this dress came out for both functions and I’m even more thrilled that I only had to make one dress instead of two!  I LOVE sewing, but was quite short on time to complete everything that I needed to complete in that 3 day span!  So, the next time you are through your pattern collection, or your closet, consider how different styling can make 2 remarkably different looks.  Drop a comment below to tell me if you have ever done last minute modifications to a dress or changed up accessories to make it work they way it needed to?  Ever sewn with scuba?  Did your serger hate it as much as mine hated this??

Introduction

 

 

 

I am Michelle and my passion is creating garments that are beautiful, wearable, comfortable and stylish. Taking flat pieces of fabric and spools of thread and turning them into stunning garments, makes my heart sing. Big Daddy & I are parents of 4 – my “Bigs,” Muffin & Bird are 25 and 23 years old and my “Littles,” Bug & Bear are ages 6 & 4. I hope to inspire you and maybe we can learn together along the way!