Wednesday, March 07, 2007

There's still time to party at the The Ultimate Blog Party

I love parties! Don't you? I mean, who doesn't like to visit and laugh and eat and have fun?

But as usual, I'm late to the party. (It began March 2 and continues until March 9.) I like to think of it as being fashionably late. But I'm still welcome! As are you! Click on the Ultimate Blog Party button to the right to find out what this party stuff is all about.

If you've been reading my blog for awhile, you know that my name is Sharon and that I love, love, love to sew.

I'm also a mom. In fact, I was a single mom from the time my babies were 1 and 2, until after the youngest graduated from high school. I sure would have loved an online community of other moms to connect with when I was raising my two.

My daughter and son are both adults and living on their own (but still close enough for lots of family visits), and I married my high school sweetheart almost nine years ago. Guess I should have married him the first time he asked - but that's another story.

When I'm not sewing I have lots of other creative endeavors - scrapbooking, stamping, face painting and cooking are a few of them - but the one people seem to be the most fascinated by is clowning.

I graduated (along with my dad, Knufie the Clown) from Christ Clown College in 2005. We spent 60 hours learning about clown ministry and practicing mime, balloon animals, juggling and acting silly. I really, really, really excelled at acting silly.

I thought I wanted to be a whiteface (pictured above) but my inner clown said "no, you are an auguste!"

So Princess DD (Dizzy Dazy) was born. She's eight years old and the back of her gown is caught in the waistband of her bloomers and she skips a lot and flirts with twelve year old boys who get red in the face when she talks to them and she likes to make balloon animals. Little girls love her and are fascinated that she is a princess with pink hair.

Well, that's a little bit about me. I'll be visiting many bloggers that are hosting their own parties to learn a bit about them. Maybe there's another clown out there somewhere.... Pin It

Monday, March 05, 2007

Simplicity 3877 Dress

About a month ago, I decided my next dress was going to be the Kwik-Sew 3489 wrap dress. And it was. The wrap dress is completed and tossed into the back of my closet because I dislike it very much. It just doesn't fit me properly, so I need time to think about how to selvage it as I really liked the knit fabric.

In the meantime, I switched gears and decided to sew a spring dress from a woven fabric. I originally purchased this red/black floral print to use for Simplicity 4171. Instead I choose to use the fabric to try out a dress from Simplicity 3877.


I sewed view D (the pink one) only because I didn't have enough fabric for the faux-wrap, khaki colored one.

This is an easy pattern to sew. The front bodice has princess seams, the back bodice is cut on the fold of the fabric and is shaped with darts.

The skirt consists of eight panels each with a godet.

The zipper is located in the side seam. I choose to insert an invisible zipper. I think it gives the dress a cleaner line.

The full review can be read at PatternReview.

Too bad I didn't save the I used for Vogue 8315 for this pattern as I am having fit issues with the Vogue pattern.

I guess I will follow Erin's advice at A Dress A Day, and buy more fabric, even though the stash is overflowing. Because, as she states "You never have enough fabric." Pin It

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Lazy Girl Designs - Handbags and a Blog Hop

Are you all familiar with Lazy Girl Designs? I've always enjoyed reading the reviews of the handbags on PatternReview but hadn't actually tried any of the patterns myself.

When Joan Hawley offered a one day only special on Valentine's Day, I jumped at the chance to buy one pattern and receive one free. The only "catch" was that you couldn't choose your free pattern - it would be chosen for you based on the pattern you purchased.

There were so many cute bag patterns to choose from. I knew I wanted the Bold Bags book but debated between the Gracie Handbag and Chloe Handbag, finally settling on the Gracie Handbag. The package arrived in just a few days and imagine my delight when I opened it and discovered the Chloe Handbag was my free pattern!

I dug through my stash and have decided to try the Chloe handbag from this piece of gray purple silk. The coordinated fibers are from my scrapbook supplies and the beads are left over from a place mat purse project that I submitted for consideration in my girlfriend's upcoming book.
For the Gracie bag I think I'll use these two coordinated pieces of pink polka dot cotton fabrics. What fun to carry a pink polka dot bag this summer!


I've been reading the Lazy Girl blog for a while now, and in fact, found out about the one day pattern special from her blog.

Beginning tomorrow, the "Day Z Dozen Lakehouse" blog hop begins. The details are on her blog (click on the logo) and it looks like it should be fun. I really like the Lakehouse fabrics - the big, bold flowers, the black and white coordinates, and the cheerful colors. Looks like I'll be stopping by the local quilt shop to big up some fabric from this line. I may even be ambitious enough to complete something by March 17 so I too can participate in the blog hop!
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Friday, March 02, 2007

Vogue 8181 knit dress and sewing an underam gusset

March in Minnesota and its finally snowing. Lots and lots of snow. So much that many businesses closed early yesterday (alas, not mine). When we woke up this morning the snow was still coming down.
Outside front door 03 02 07

Doesn't it look peaceful? I love the look of freshly fallen snow early in the morning before the world wakes up.
Shed and snow 03 02 07

Fortunately, I already had today scheduled off from work as I'll be attending a women's retreat this weekend. That meant I didn't have to be up early fighting my way into work during rush hour on the slow and congested roads.

The heavy snow also meant the cancellation of many evening events last night, so I took advantage of the time at home to complete my knit dress from Vogue 8181.

Vogue 8181 dress
This is an easy knit dress to sew. If you don't need to do any major alterations to the pattern you can probably sew it in about two hours.

However, no pattern adjustments no longer happen in my world, so I began preparing the pattern by doing an FBA. This pattern has an empire waist with a sleeve that is all in one with the bodice. This bodice does not have an actual dart (the dart is rotated to the underbust gathers), but I knew I needed a increase the dart as well as lower the bodice.

I pulled out my copy of Real Fit for Real People to verify how to do an FBA on this style of bodice.

The first thing I did was cut the sleeve portion off of the bodice. I then drew in my lines for an FBA, increased as needed, filled in with tissue paper and taped it all back together. If you look closely there is a pink line at the bottom left, right underneath the underarm curve. This is where I added the initial dart. I closed it and rotated it so that the fullness would be added to the underbust gathers.
8181 <span class=

Next, I increased the length of the front bodice so that the seamline would fall underneath my bust, not over it, and raised the v-neckline slightly.

8181 <span class=

Once I had the pattern adjusted and the pieces cut out I began the sewing process.

One of the first steps in this dress is to sew the underarm gusset. If you haven't sewn one before, the instructions included with the pattern might leave you a bit frustrated. Here's how I sewed the gusset.
  • Accurately mark the gusset on the wrong side of the fabric. Next, sew along the gusset stitching lines to reinforce the area. This also provides a guideline to use when you sew in the gusset.
8181 mark gusset

  • Carefully slash the fabric between the stitching lines to the top marking. Do not slash beyond the stitching as this is the reinforcement for the gusset.

8181 cut gusset

  • After sewing the underarm seam and the side seam, pin the gusset piece to the underam edges matching the circles that you previously marked on the gusset piece and the dress piece. I don't pivot and turn as instructed in the pattern guideline. I sew each section of the gusset separately. The photo below shows the underarm gusset sewn in place, with the underarm seam at the top and the side seam at the bottom.

8181 gusset inside

  • The finished underarm gusset from the right side of the garment.

8181 <span class=

This was probably the most time consuming portion of the entire dress. On this particular dress I ended up with too much ease and ended up taking the dress in about an inch on each side seam. I'm not sure if it was the pattern (because I didn't flat measure before cutting it out and sewing it) or the alteration I made to the bust. However, after tweaking the fit, the dress was completed in under an hour.

The only embellishment I added was to the neckline. I sewed a narrow woven floral green and pink trim that matches the colors in the dress perfectly.

Now that the fit has been perfected I will be keeping my eye out for another piece of knit for my next version.

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