Recent Sketches

Monday, June 19, 2017

Its pretty unreal how busy motherhood keeps me. My days are spent with my happy, energetic, chubby baby and I rarely get a chance to sew. Any free moment I get is spent eating a quick meal or taking a shower. The other day, Peter took a glorious two and a half hour nap (so rare) and I spent all of that free time organizing my self-drafted patterns in a file box and jotting down some fashion sketches I've had in my head for a while.

Some of my sketches are original ideas, but often my inspiration comes from clothing I see on people around me. Either way, they are usually very simple pieces that I could see myself making someday.

A skirt I saw on a blogger, a top I found online, and a full (circle or semi-circle) ankle-length skirt I've been dying to make
Lately I have been daydreaming of skirts because I am nursing, so most dresses don't work for me. This summer I plan to wear skirts every day and I have so many ideas for skirts I plan to make myself.

A pleated skirt, a wrap dress that would make nursing easy, and a loose-fitting bell sleeve top I saw online
Sometimes I sew things I know I will never make, but they are just too beautiful not to document! Like this sketch of my best friend's wedding dress:

Just for fun, I sketched my best friend's wedding dress! She is getting married in October and I can't wait to see her in it!

Tie Front Top

Friday, June 16, 2017

One style that I have been eager to try this summer is the tie front top. I have seen so many cute ones around. My sister in law made this one and I love it. 
Recently I came across this picture and I'm obsessed! I love that top! That picture was my inspiration for this top.
After a few failed attempts at finding it, I finally did!

The top from ASOS
I got it for myself (obviously) and I made a pattern from it so I can recreate it for myself over and over again.

The pattern pieces
I used a forrest green jersey knit fabric that I've had for a while. I love it because its super soft fabric and really heavy. Plus, the dark green color is one of my favorites.

Assembly was super simple. There were a few minor adjustments I had to make to the pattern as I was sewing the top together. One thing that needed tweaking was the bodice front. I'm not sure if it was a drafting mistake or if the fabric was weighing it down, but the bodice front was too long, making the tie too low for my liking. I shortened it two inches and it was perfect!

I love the diagonal seam details of this top. It is hardly noticeable (especially in the dark green fabric), but it makes a big difference in the drape of the fabric and the overall appearance of the top. I feel really good in this top! I think it is really flattering and comfortable. I like wearing things that are in style but I am not a risk taker. The tie front top is a popular style lately, but this will serve as a staple item because of its simplicity. 

Nursing Friendly with Bell Sleeves Update

Friday, June 2, 2017

Here are some pictures of me wearing the dress I recently made.

The trim detail and subtle color contrast turned out even better than I expected! The front zipper makes nursing easy and discreet.

If I were to remake this dress, I would add some length and I would add even more fullness to the bell sleeves.

Close up of some of the details (and of Peter!) 

Dresses for Weddings

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Wedding season approaches!
Here is a throwback to a few dresses I made myself for weddings over the years.

My good friend Madeleine got married in 2011. Her official bridesmaids were her five sisters, but she told a few friends to wear green so that we could still coordinate. I loved how the different shades of green looked together. 
This isn't a great shot of the dress I made, but I used a pattern from a Built by Wendy Dresses book I had. For years, the patterns from that book were all I used when sewing for myself. I modified the skirt to be a circle skirt rather than A-line and the bodice was pretty basic with a scoop neck and short sleeves. 

In 2012, our friend Rachel got married. Her bridesmaids were her four sisters and her best friend and they wore mint green. The four of us pictured coincidentally all showed up wearing shades of blue. It was unintentional, but it resulted in a cute picture with the bride! 
The dress I'm wearing here is a navy knit dress with puff sleeves. I made it in my pattern making class. 

Emily's Wedding Dress: Adding Sleeves

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Emily got married last weekend! 
During the wedding dress shopping stage, they were sending me pictures of any dress that she liked and we would quickly brainstorm what could be done to make the dress modest. She sent a few pictures of different dresses, and then she found THE DRESS. It was the perfect length and the bodice fit her like a glove. The only work that needed to be done was adding sleeves. Granted, that is a huge job, but it can be done!

She fell in love with the beading detail and the overall silhouette. Adding sleeves wouldn't be too much trouble because the front is not too low cut. I was confident right away that I would be able to create sleeves that would match the dress almost seamlessly. I did a similar alteration on a prom dress last year. 

We had two fittings with a cotton mockup of the upper bodice. The first draft was way too big and the second one fit her almost perfectly. After making minor adjustments to the second mockup, I finally cut the pieces out of the white satin, using the cotton as the pattern and eventually the underlining.

The first change I made to the dress itself was to remove the beaded flap from the neck edge. Even though it was a gorgeous detail, we all agreed the dress would look better without it once the sleeves were added. Luckily, the beading extended underneath the flap so I didn't have to re-bead the bodice.
I wanted to reuse the beads from the flap so I spent a lot of time removing those.

Once the satin outer layer was attached to the lining and the finished sleeves were sewn on, I then pinned it in place on the dress.

Shoulder pieces pinned to the dress ready to be fitted and sewn
After she tried it on one more time, I had a few adjustments to make. Once those were made, I had her try it on one last time! This time I was confident with the fit so I finally attached the piece to the dress. After that, I began beading!
The beading was easy, but oh so time consuming! I continued a border around the neck edge to make it look continuous. I also continued some of the bodice beading over the seam onto the shoulder pieces. This made it look as though the dress came with the shoulders and sleeves (I REALLY didn't want it to be obvious that sleeves were added).

After I finished beading, I hand stitched the lining fabric closed, added a few hooks and eyes, and it was finished! With not a moment to spare! Thankfully, she was a very easy-going bride so she didn't seem to mind too bad that I got the dress to her only a few days before the wedding.

Days before the wedding. Its finally finished!

I am so happy with how it turned out. I am so proud of the beading especially! I was sure to text a few update pictures to the bride as I made progress. This close up of the beading was one picture that I sent to her. 

Some of the beading detail

Congrats, Emily! So happy I got to be a small part of your big day! Now that I am finished, I think I might reward myself with a new dress...

Second Annual Prom Season

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Prom season just came and went!
Lately I have been so busy with taking care of my almost three month old that it is hard for me to find time for my projects. Its been really stressful because I've had some MAJOR projects: altering two prom dresses and building sleeves onto a strapless wedding dress. 
During our busy season for our business (April through August), my husband doesn't get home until 8 or 9 at night. Most nights he comes straight home and is on "Peter Duty" for the rest of the night. If Peter needs something, he happily takes care of it so I can sew.  

A few weeks ago I finished my work on the prom dresses and it turned out great. 

The beautiful result!

The first dress was a beautiful blue floral dress.
I hemmed the dress about three and a half inches and added blue satin underneath the sheer part of the bodice. It matched the lining fabric so perfectly!

The second dress I altered was a champagne lace off-the-shoulder dress with a train.

I raised the lace off-the-shoulder detail to cap sleeves. Along with that, I removed some of the lace from the neckline to expose the sweetheart detail.
The hem had a beautiful train, but it may have been a bit over the top for a high school prom. I evened the hem to be straight across.

The lined cap sleeves and even hem

Clayton Clothing

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

My brother Lane is a very talented seamster (male form of seamstress? Maybe correct?). In his free time, he makes ties for himself, stuffed animals for his nephews, and beautiful custom pieces for friends. He is also an entrepreneur and is always coming up with business ideas and putting them to the test. 
He and his good friend started a business called Clayton Clothing. They sell handmade, stylish ties and have managed to keep very busy doing so. They even do custom orders for wedding parties.
I know from experience that ties are not easy to make. The pattern, cut, and assembly have to be perfect to get a symmetrical and straight tie.
I'm really proud of them and very impressed with all of their hard work.

Jesse sporting his handmade Clayton Clothing tie on Easter Sunday

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