Neon Peggy

I’ve been sewing!  It always feels so good to be working on and finishing fun things.  Here is my most recent make, an (almost) neon yellow Peggy skirt from Blue Ginger Doll.

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I am in love with this pattern and, as usual, keep visualizing many different versions.  It is so stylish and comfortable, in my opinion.  Before I gush more about the pattern, I’ll back up and explain my color choice.  This was my outfit for family photos this year.  I love to have fun and play with a good color story for our photos.  Last year was a mix of neutrals with mint green.  This year I wanted something rich yet playful.  I stopped by one of the color palette websites I like and found this one at ColourLovers called Come What Mei:

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Already having the shirt in my wardrobe, I set about finding things we had in our closets and sewing what was left.  Which turned out to be a skirt for me to give that pop of yellow and a shirt for my son.  The girls had pretty Tea Collection dresses already, so I decided to go with that instead of stressful sewing on a deadline like last year.  When this skirt was first released I almost dismissed it right away.  Despite being so cute, it looked like a copy of the Colette Patterns Ginger skirt, which I already own.  But after looking a little closer I really liked some of the different details and went for it.  So glad I did!  I definitely love the waistband options (which were what largely felt familiar to me already), but what I really love is the front pleats and the gaping pocket detail.

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Look at those darling pockets!  My only wish is that they were deeper.  There is plenty of room to store stuff, but I can’t really STUFF my hands way down like I like to do.  I had my husband snap these real quick before we left our photo location.  Once we get the professional shots I may post one to show our outfits altogether.  So what are you waiting for?  Pick yourself up a Peggy!

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The Dress is Almost as Fun as the Music

Take a look at my choir dress!

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Two years ago, I had room in my life for some classical music again.  I rejoined my local Master Chorale after a long break.  Of course performing with a choir group requires a choir dress within a dress code such as floor length, elbow length (or longer) sleeves, and a modest neckline…in black.  What’s a sewing girl to do?  Does she spend a fortune on a lovely gown that will only be worn on occasion IF she can even find one that fits the required description?  Last I looked, modest necklines and long sleeve gowns were not to be found.  Does she run to the discount store and throw together a cheap black maxi skirt and black top?  No and no!  She sews herself something fabulous.  And if you are THIS she, you make this your first adult sewing project EVER!!  Yes, it was definitely a risk that payed off to use Project Runway lingo.

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At the time that I was pondering what to do, New Look 6000 was having its day.  And it struck me that I needed a dress with the party on the top, since that’s really all that is seen by the audience unless you’re in the front row.  And I rarely am since I’m tall-ish.  This pattern has so many great details from the waist up: assymetric waist pleating, sleeve cuffs, and a fabulous 60s-style collar.

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I found a decent wool blend from JoAnn, and used a remnant of black velvet for the cuff and collar contrasts.  Being that this was the first garment I sewed for myself, I measured myself and the pattern pieces several times to make sure before cutting.  To lengthen the dress and avoid having to do any kind of slit or kick pleats, I overlayed a long A-line skirt pattern during the tracing process.  My mom, who owns an antique/consignment store is always a great resource and she brought over several brooches for me to choose from, and from that choice I picked buttons for the cuffs with the right amount of sparkle to coordinate.  She sings in the choir with me, too, by the way.  Its a fun girls night out for us, with our choir friends.  That may sound a little nerdy to some, I guess.  I think I figured my cost on this dress was around $32!

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I was so grateful this project turned out.  It is fun to wear and adds something extra special for me at performances.  My husband says it is always easy to find me right away because the dress is so different from what others are wearing and the way the pin catches the light.  I’m thankful for my husband, too.  Despite knowing nothing about music, he comes to all my performances in support of something I love so much!

Simplicity 2226 Three Ways

People speak of their TNT patterns often.  I haven’t sewn long enough to have lots to choose from, but for now Simplicity 2226 seems to be it.  Plus, I think I like to sew from the same pattern multiple times.  The second and third time through are so much quicker.  I love this pattern for the pockets the gathering in the front and back and especially the chance to accessorize with skinny belts.

First, my most worn version:

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This has been such a versatile skirt and has seen a lot of wear all summer.  Its a mustard linen-look fabric. The color seems to complement half the tops in my closet.  Plus, like I said…belts!  It is such a simple skirt, but I always get compliments and have been asked several times where I got it, which is fun because that is the only question to which I’ll confess, “I made it!”

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Second, a maxi version:

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This is a silky fabric from JoAnn that I thought was so beautiful and muted in color.  I saw this whole outfit in my head and bought shirt, shoes, and belt with this in mind, so it was definitely not allowed to become an unfinished project.

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A better shot of the fabric:

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And in reverse order, the first version I sewed from this pattern:

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Already donated!  I guess that answers the question of whether I am overly attached to the things that I make.  I don’t seem to have a problem moving on if its something I don’t like or isn’t made well.  This one was a rayon print from Joann.  I got sucked in by a better quality fiber than I usually find there, but just didn’t love the print once it was sewn up and, being my first version, it came out a bit big with poor finishing.  I’ve started a denim version that can take the #3 spot, instead.

In all versions I removed some of the fullness from the gathers both in the front and the back.  After I finish the denim skirt, I think its time to move on to another skirt pattern.

Sea Goddess Maxi

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I just need to state up front that this is a blatant copy of Patty’s awesome cabana dress.  I fell in love with her version of Kwik Sew 3856 (she made a few, and they’re all good).  I’ve got plenty of original ideas swimming around in my head, but so often I love EXACTLY what I’ve seen someone else make, and this was one such time.  Based on Patty’s review, I lengthened the bodice a bit, stitched down the surplice wrap in the front, and added length.  The only slight difference is the way I placed the print.

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The colors in this fabric are so beautiful…the photos don’t do it justice.  Its an Anna Maria Horner voile, and it so soft and breathable for the hot summers we get.

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Given the nature of the print repeat, I had to really carefully lay out the pattern pieces and I barely made it work with what I had.  But the time spent paid off because the print matching came out really good.  The colors and swirling patterns make me think of waves and seaweed and tentacles giving me the feeling of some sort of sea goddess when I wear it.

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I finished this late summer last year, and am looking forward to wearing it a lot this summer.  I don’t have immediate plans to make this pattern again, but I do recommend it.

Coral Laurel

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Well, those folks over at Colette Patterns really know what they’re doing, don’t they?  This Laurel contest has been quite the marketing success.  Truthfully, I wasn’t overly ecstatic when the pattern first released until a couple of things:  First, the competition, of course.  Secondly, Sarai’s shift dress inspiration post.  There was lots of beautiful images, as well as her mention of the desire to wear something not tight in the waist in the heat of summer.  That really got me to thinking ahead about our summers here which have several days/weeks in triple digits.  She was so right!  We get to where we don’t want to wear anything but a swimsuit.  Lastly, I thought about how much I truly do love a good shift dress.  My favorite era of vintage patterns (and I’m sure some will cringe at this) is late 60s/early 70s.  Most of the ones in my small collection are shifts.  So, I clicked purchase!  Well done, CP, well done.

I’ve peeked at the flickr page a couple of times, as well as seen plenty of Laurels pop up in my reader.  Its been fun to see so many different interpretations.  I think the contest has pushed sewists to be particularly creative with this pattern.

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As usual, I had several ideas for this one pattern rolling around in my head.  But with the call of parenting and life in general, I’ve only gotten to this one so far.  I decided on a coral cotton with a slight crinkly texture from my recent stash – a purchase from Hancock Fabrics.  My detail additions were sleeve ties and bow pockets.  I had seen this tutorial and thought I would add them to my Laurel.  I used the tutorial as a starting point, but used the pocket pattern from the Laurel and adjusted the bow measurements accordingly.  Also, I sewed the pocket per the Laurel pattern instructions.  Separately I had been considering Simplicity 3835 recently for a different fabric. But after deciding against it for a couple of reasons, the sleeve ties still sat swimming around in my thoughts and would not leave me alone so they joined in on the Laurel fun.

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That was all the fun stuff.  Now, I don’t know if its my body proportions not matching up with this company’s sloper, or being rather new to this women’s garment sewing thing, but this dress took a lot of work to fit!  This deceptively simple pattern is my longest project to date.  I wisely decided to make a muslin (my first ever!) after the first few reviews came in, and it took me three to get it right.  That’s a lot of boring sewing before getting to actually cut into the pretty fabric.  The first 1 1/2 I will admit was me trying to figure out what size to cut, and I even checked flat pattern measurements beforehand.  I am a pretty slow and careful sewist, because I am really not ok with failed projects.  I know I should feel differently and have that great attitude of, “you learn from your mistakes.”  But I don’t.  I can be a perfectionist and I want something to wear out of the process.  I don’t even want to do the work of writing down every single adjustment for you because there were a lot and I don’t completely know what I am doing with all that yet.  My substantial sewing library really got a work out, though.    The main things were lowering the bust darts, taking in the back and side seams, widening and lengthening the back darts, and work on the armscye and sleeves.  I am happy with my end result and this is something I will wear.

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This is a fun color to accessorize and for the majority I wore neutral shoes and jewelry.  But for a little fun at the end I threw on some mint green since it makes a trendy combination with coral right now.  I have two more Laurels lined up, but they won’t be ready for the competition.  That’s ok, I’ve made peace with it today 😉  By the way, self portraiture is a lot of work!  I am a pretty good hobby photographer, but getting in front of the camera definitely has a learning curve.  I’ll be working on improving.  This round is already looking better than the batch of projects I photographed last week.  This guy photo-bombed me three times before I realized!  We had a good laugh:

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