Friday, September 19, 2014

needlepoint excursion

I have a LONG way to go.
Y'all know I don't knit. So what is a non-knitting girl to do between projects/when all her zippers are temporarily installed in wedding dress muslins? NEEDLEPOINT OBVI.

I sort of know how to cross stitch poorly, and (now) I sort of know how to needlepoint. I totally assumed these were the same thing, but they are not. FYI.

Because I live in The South (of America, for international readers) I am making a needlepoint belt for my lovely fiance. It's a thing. Because I am also sewing my wedding dress, this gift for him is not a secret--I already have one task that requires me to be locked up in the sewing room! Therefore, he helped me pick out the design. I got it from the Needlepoint by Laura Etsy shop. She was great to work with and helped me create this custom design.    

It has the main buildings of our university, the Colonnade, in the middle. Its fitting to post this today since it's Homecoming Weekend at the moment. Wish I were there!

I think it is pretty accurate! They will do any college campus just based off internet images. It also has the Washington and Lee Trident (our school symbol), and one side  says "W&L" and the other has his monogram (again, because its the south and everything gets monogrammed. you should see my wedding registry, ha). You can buy belts (and coasters and keychains etc etc) with just the trident on it at the school store but not with your initials on it!

Since I have never needlepointed before, I don't reeeeeally know what I'm doing. This photo of the backside shows my technique, If you can call it that. I used the Needlepoint for Fun (haha) website to learn some basic stitches and then I've just mashed them together however seems right. I've been doing the detail pieces in a tent stitch, and then doing a basketweave stitch to fill in the background. The basketweave stitch is worked diagonally, which is why you can see all those bits criss crossing diagonally across the parts I already did. Is this right? I don't know! I'm figuring it out as I go!

So this is what I have been doing in the textiles area. Have you ever done needlepoint (needlepointed)? Do think needlepoint belts are for old people?


P.S. More shots of that particular brand of prep that Americans call "Ivy League style" (I think Brits have a different name for it?) and our beautiful campus here, including lots of needlepoint belts.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

coral dirndl skirt

So, this is technically one component of my Weekend Wardrobe pattern... but guess what?

The pattern pieces are all rectangles!

That's right, it's just a dirndl skirt. Easiest part of the Weekend Wardrobe? check.

it's all rectangles! *wink* (ft. unintentional awkward winking)
There's not much to say about this. It's a bright coral cotton sateen from G Street Fabrics. It's all rectangles. I basically ignored the instructions, so I'm not even sure if my lapped zipper is what it's supposed to have or not. It has a waistband button. I hemmed it using the blind hem function on my machine. It's is a LOT of gathering! Ignore the wrinkles!

Making a dirndl skirt is soooo easy (as long as you know how to gather). I could make 100. Do you love the dirndl skirt? Do you love saying dirndl? dirndl dirndl dirndl dirndl


ps: I've been making some blog design updates. I used Rachel's post on photography to figure out how to size my pictures properly, and then decided to update the whole thing. I feel a lot more motivated to post and to share my blog when I feel like it looks good, and I think it looks a lot better/more profesh. What do you think? Any suggestions?

pps: I also added a pin it button! It took me like an hour, and then my computer scientist fiance had to help fix it for like another hour, so you'd better pin a lot of stuff. ahhhhhh html!!!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

chambray three ways

I'm making my best Tilly face. Doesn't she always look adorable in her photos?


I have been away, but I'll only give the bare bones excuses:
I bought a house!
I moved!
It's summer reading (which is a big deal in the world of children's librarians).
And I've been reading (a lot), and neglecting my sewing.

I've been crafting, but I don't feel like I've been sewing, if you know what I mean. I've been making things for my house--curtains and the like. Have any of you done significant amounts of home decor sewing? I think it is so dull... lots of straight lines. But when you consider the price of decent curtains, I have to grudgingly admit, all those straight lines may be worth it. I'll do a little home-making roundup of my projects at some point soon, if you'd be interested!

I haven't forgotten my pledges--I am participating in the Vintage Pledge and I have also made a personal pledge to sew up a whole Weekender Wardrobe pattern. In fact, I have an update on the latter for you today!

I was slouching around in my sewing room feeling uninspired; my patterns just did. not. correlate. with my stash fabric.

And then I was catching up on blogs and belatedly saw a whole bunch of adorbs shorts from this year's Shorts on the Line... and a bunch of cute two-piece outfits from Sophie over at Ada Spragg...

And I had a bunch of this dark blue chambray left over from making Alex a Negroni like a year ago (because I didn't want to have to match plaids and mostly what he wears is plaid)...

And everything fell into place.

Some shorts belatedly on the line! An interchangeable two-piece, belatedly set-tacular! Another piece from my wardrobe pattern! Practical basics (sort of)!

I used my Weekend Wardrobe pattern (Simplicity 5299) for the shorts. I flat felled all the seams so the inside is nice and neat, and I think they fit very well out of the packet. Nice, huh? My only problem is that the pattern may be over 50 years old but DANG these shorts are short!!

I know a lot of people have been making the new Esther shorts, and these are fairly similar, but judging by the pictures of the Esthers I've seen, I think their inseam is longer. I'll definitely lengthen the inseam on these the next time I make them. By like, several inches. They don't look as short as they felt. I mean, they look short up there, yes, but they felt this short:

By that, I mean that I felt like my butt was hanging out. While I think that they'll be fine with some more coverage on top, with a crop top, its a little too much. I wanted to feel like a cute 1950s beach vacationer, not like this.

Other things that were too short: my crop top! I used the two-piece variation of Capital Chic Pattern's Martini. You can see I basically disregarded all instructions. I know its a crop top but it was also really too short, which I realized after trying it on before hemming it. I added a bottom band which added a little over an inch to the length.

In the interest of making this out of a whole bunch of stash goods, I also improvised with the back fastening. I didn't have a long enough zipper (I used it in the shorts) so I just put a shorter zipper at the top and then left the bottom open and finished my band with a bow instead of putting a zip all the way down. I think if I made another crop from this pattern, I might extend one side and make it button or something. The idea of a whole zipper seems weird.

I am looking forward to making the Martini as a dress--it looks adorable, and the top fits well (that first picture is just weird posture!)--but now that I know how short the top is, I probably won't make the skirt as a stand alone. It must be really high waisted.

And the third piece??

I took these photos hiding in my (new) backyard, and I wasn't about to wear this set out. Not enough coverage! But with a longer, less form-fitting skirt I wore my matching outfit proudly!

We went to the DURM Hip Hop Summit. It was awesome. I can't decide what I liked best, the very cool ten-year-old DJ or the Rap Battle. My skirt is just a dirndl, so no pattern, but you can use Gertie's tutorial.

And here's my best waiting for the photographer face / Margot Tenenbaum impression:

I totally love this combo. It's totally 50s ladylike plus a little bit of edge. I will rock this combo again.

miss allie

ps: Taylor Swift makes matching look so good.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

April Showers dress and Giveaway Winner!

April showers bring May flowers... in this case, the flowers are springing up on my newly-finished dress! This is one of those dresses that lingered for ages half-finished on my dress form. I used Simplicity 2444, which was last seen during Me Made May '13 as a wearable muslin which I wear a lot. I had done a lot of hand finishing before realizing that when I put the zipper in, there was a possibility it wouldn't fit (eep!).  I lined this version, and I was rather worried that the bulk of the lining combined with the total lack of stretch (not that the last one stretched, but it wasn't quite so thick) would make it too small, but I powered through because I really wanted to wear it to an event: my friend's bridal shower!

I don't have a lot of detail shots. You all know what Simplicity 2444 looks like, though! Evvvvveryone has made one. (Because it is awesome. I love it.)

Wondering where I am? I am at...

Which is where all my favorite fabrics come from. I was dressed for the shower and my mom and I decided to stop in at G Street. Of course, this fabric happens to be from G Street, and alllll the ladies there were like I recognize that fabric!! Um, I don't know whether to be proud or embarrassed?

And now for some thrilling professional photography:

Here I am, wearing my dress at the event that gave this dress the name "April Showers," my friend's absolutely gorgeous bridal shower. (We were playing a game where you had to guess the celebrity couple. I correctly identified Grace Kelly and Jackie Kennedy, but petered out around 1969. I did get Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass though! Young Adult Lit for life.)


Fabric: A cotton blend(?) stash jacquard c/o my mom from G Street Fabric.
Pattern: Simplicity 2444
Year: Contemporary.
Notions: seam binding, 22" zip.
Time to complete: foreverrrrrrr
Wear again? yes
Make again? yes
Details/changes: lined bodice, handpicked zipper, hand-finished seams and sleeves.

And the (randomly selected) winner of last week's giveaway is...

Amanda from The Year 2050 who said "The ladies in 5527 look like they're getting ready for a jet set adventure - the one on the far right is definitely the stewardess. The two next to her are arguing about where they're flying and the two on the far left are totally ready to go on their wacky European vacation. They are also all a bit miffed that everyone else chose the exact same shade of blue as them. Jeez.

I'll be sending you an email, Amanda! I can definitely see the stewardess look--perhaps you can make your own Pan Am uniform :) 

Thank you for all the hilarious comments. Every time I got an email about comments, I was so excited to see what you all had to say!

miss allie

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vintage Sewing Pledge & MMM'14

My Weekend Wardrobe project has expanded into participation in the Vintage Sewing Pattern Pledge.

I, Allie Massey, pledge to sew five vintage patterns from my stash in 2014.

The first is my whole Weekender Wardrobe pattern, of course.

I also want to master this nice little blouse pattern, Butterick 3324:

I think all three of these are very wearable. 

So I have made a little white wearable muslin version of View C, which is not quite acceptable for out-of-house-wear, and therefore has been worn out of the house like 5 times already. But that is good, because it shows I will get good use out of tops made from this pattern! If you were curious, the ties on A and B are actually different! The tie on A is cut to go in the same direction when loosely tied like that, and the one on B is cut to be symmetrical when tied in a bow. 

The next two are two cute pajama sets (one for me and one for my man):

Doesn't she just look so darn cute?

And these fine gentlemen have a lot of things to get done, clearly. I like their loafers. 
Also, why are men's patterns just short, average, tall, while we ladies have to deal with misses, miss, petite, junior, teen...? I'm sure I'm forgetting other "sizes" that are so hard to decipher! Boo.

Finally, I'll be sewing up a little something special that you will have to pop over here to see (no boys allowed, this means you, Alex).

And that makes five! Thanks to Marie for inspiration!

With all these lovely separates I will (presumably) have made, it will be perfect for Me Made May, which I cannot believe is here again already! So:

I, Allie of missalliemass, pledge to wear one or more me-made item of clothing 5 days a week.

Oh! but didn't I say every day last year? I did! But I also realize that some days  I never get "dressed" and wear workout clothes all day because I am lazy/a 24 year old sorority girl/whatever I don't need an excuse. This year I'm only saying 5 days a week, and hopefully I will manage to take some decent pictures to make up for those missing two days. Y'all know my pictures last year were not great :) hopefully this year they will be better.


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Weekend(er Wardrobe) Update & Giveaway!!

I have been busily sewing, but I don't feel like I have been producing anything that quite merits its own post, that's why there's been radio silence from me for a little bit. There's been lots of muslining and trying-on being done around here, and lots of walking back and forth from my sewing room to my mirror in the bedroom, and lots of clothing discarded in the sewing room and frantically searched for everywhere else before I remember where I have left it, and then lots of lint rolling as I discover it is covered in fabric scraps and millions of snipped threads. (Do you do this, leave your real clothes in your sewing space when you fit garments?)

So instead of showing you a finished garment, I have some generally poor photos of works-in-progress to share today. And a giveaway!!

I have been busily at work on my Weekend Wardrobe. The dress and blouse are the same, the top is just extended, so that makes it nicer to fit, but I'm still having some issues. It is too big through the shoulders and bust--this pattern is a 14, and so while it makes the pants fit nicely, I'm really a 12 on top. It shouldn't be too hard to fix, but I love where the end of the sleeve hits, so I don't want to mess that up. Ugh, fitting! It's so annoying!

Here's the dress:

Looks good! Yay! Right?

Nooooooo :( this is way too wide on top. 

And here's the back, which has no darts, and clearly needs some. 

You can see here and in the first photo that the dress's sleeves hit just past the shoulder, almost like tiny little cap sleeves. That is how it is supposed to hit--that is intended. However, that is just about the only thing here that looks good, from the waist up. I took in the CB seam by 5/8" (so that is 1 1/4 inches total taken off the back). You can't tell in these photos but the side seam on one side is taken in a bunch. I have some more fitting schemes that I want to try out though since that doesn't seem to help that much.

Some exciting news: if you are interested in joining me in my quest to complete an entire wardrobe pattern, but don't have a wardrobe pattern of your own...

you are in luck!

Ashley from Craft Sanctuary was cleaning out her stash and generously offered to donate a few wardrobe patterns for a lovely Weekender Wardrobe giveaway.

Butterick 3054 in bust 30 1/2, McCalls 9290 in bust 31 1/2 (1968), and Simplicity 6853 in bust 36

Simplicity 5527 in bust 34 (1973), and McCall's 2415 in bust 32 1/2

People will stare at you enviously while you wear your groovy dress from 1970. 
I can't help you achieve that glorious hair though! Maybe invest in a wind machine? 
Doesn't she look fashionable and carefree?

These two sets of twins from 1974 look groovy in their coordinated outfits. 
It must be nice to have someone to share patterns with--
I wonder if twins have to make all the same alterations?

And these quintuplets are definitely getting their money's worth from this pattern!

These are all rather small sizes, but remember--you can always grade a pattern up or down using Casey's wonderful and detailed tutorial, and I've heard positive things about using a photocopier as well!

One of the reasons I started blogging about my sewing projects (besides mooching advice from all you lovely people) is because of the great community it is! Thanks again (times one million) to Ashley for being amazing and helping me out with this giveaway.

All you need to do to win these five patterns is leave a comment below telling me where you think some of these fashionable ladies are going in their nice new handmade clothing!

I will end the contest Sunday, April 6 at 5:00 pm EST. The winner will be drawn randomly and I'll announce it here next week :)

Sunday, February 23, 2014

hopefully, the 5299 pants final fitting

Hello, lovely readers!

Are you sick of pants yet? ME TOO.

You may remember last time when I tried Kenneth King's crazy fisheye dart technique to reduce the under-butt sagginess in my new pants pattern. Well, I made another muslin, trying a different tactic--instead of trying to do some crazy magic, I just took in the at the side seams at the problem area.

Different? Yes.
Perfect? No.
Better? Arguably, yes!

Back view aka VPL.


I was so enthused by this new development that despite the fact that I never ever want to sew a pair of pants again, I sewed another pair of pants! Ugh, I have gone through so much practice fabric. But it is worth it, because it looks so different in a twill than a thin muslin cotton.

Hey hey!! 

Get ready for some exclamation points, I am excited! 
Unfortunately (for you), I've made more black pants, which don't photograph very well, but I'm trying to use this light in the corner of my sewing room (aka the guest bedroom), which you have seen a lot recently.

PANTS! Wearable pants!

The front! I think it looks nice, right?

Zipper and side view. 

We have some little wrinkles going on, but good! 
And partially because I am twisting around.

Awkward self-photo, but good light.

Similar awkward self-photo.

I am pretty pleased with myself. I feel like Laura Petrie--success!