Sunday, June 23, 2013

Pyjama Party!

Hello again! I decided, a bit late in the game, to join in the Pyjama Party hosted by Karen of Did You Make That? By the time my Tofino pattern came in the mail, I had 10 days to make this happen. And, to up the difficulty level, this week I've had to unexpectedly buy a car (my husband was rear-ended and luckily he's fine but the car was not), and prepare for my in-laws to visit this weekend.

I've been a scared of pants every since I made my first pair of pajamas. They were my very first garment, and it took me weeks (literally - weeks!) and the fit was terrible. But, I've come a long way since then. I could totally do this!



I made it! I didn't have time to head out to the 'burbs for additional supplies, so I reluctantly skipped the piping and fabric belt. It's such a fun detail and I've never made piping, so I'm going to go all out for my next pair.

I made an 10 in the waist, and then blended to a 6 in the hips, using Karen's helpful instructions. I messed up the grading in the crotch, and the pieces didn't go together perfectly. I fixed it, but the crotch ended up a little higher than the pattern intended. It's not uncomfortable though. I think next time I might do an 8 in the waist, since it's till a  little baggy.

The fabric is a floral quilting cotton I inherited from my grandmother. It's a little stiff, but I'm hoping it will soften after a couple more trips through the washer/dryer.

I broke my ironclad,  never, ever, ever, unless the house is on fire, go outside in pajamas rule for you guys. I got a lot of strange looks from my neighbors walking their dogs. Why is a grown woman being photographed in her pajamas at 5:30 pm? But totally worth it, because this is a great pattern and I definitely plan to make more.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Lisette Passport Dress

Hello again! A couple of weeks ago I finished a second version of the Lisette Passport Dress (Simplicity 2209), but I am just now blogging about it due to bad weather, my photographer-husband's work schedule, and general ambivalence. I'm not so sure about this one you guys.

I got the fabric on the bottom half on clearance at Joann's, and I absolutely love it, but at just under a yard, I felt like I didn't have a lot of options. I wanted a skirt, but couldn't see squeezing a waistband in. Some others on Pattern Review have had nice results doing a solid top/patterned bottom combo with the Passport Dress, so I decided to give it a go. I had juuuusst enough fabric. 

As with my first version, I cut a 10 in the shoulders, blended to a 14 at the waist, and then to a 12 in the hips. I also lowered the arm holes by about 1/2".

The top is a twill from Joann's limited selection. I choose it because it matched the white-but-not-blinding-white of the skirt fabric. In hindsight though, it was probably too heavy a fabric to pair with the medium weight print. The darts are pretty prominent and the whole thing just feels heavy for a summer dress.

From the back, without accessorizing. My shoulder blades look weird here, but it's because I'm not standing up straight.

Just to give you an idea what the dress looks like on its own. I definitely plan to wear it with the belt and cardi. 

Both fabrics were slightly sheer, so I decided to be brave and make my first lining. I am more than a little embarrassed to admit I used muslin because I was too cheap to buy cotton batiste. This is easily the tidiest the inside of any of my garments has ever looked.

So, overall, I dunno. I just can't see myself wearing this a ton due to poor fabric choices. I think the big lesson here is that I've really grown a lot in the past year, and it may be time to stop limiting myself to $5 a yard. Up until know I've been pretty reluctant to invest much in any particular project, since there's a fair chance it will be a disaster. I haven't had a wadder in a while though, so maybe it's time to treat myself to something slightly nicer.

On the plus side I did learn how to line a bodice using this excellent tutorial and how to sew an invisible hem with my machine. It's also the nicest invisible zipper I've ever installed. So, progress. And it does look a hundred times better with a belt.

As I side note, I got my knitting groove back and finished this awesome spider:

It's one of the projects in my Amigurumi Knits book and may be my favorite one yet.

I'm almost finished with my Tofino pants - can't wait for the pyjama party next week!

Sunday, June 9, 2013

DIY Tufted Headboard

Hello again! Three weekends, 3 trips crafts and hardware stores, 6 episodes of Oddities, and many podcasts later, I have finished my new headboard!

I leaned heavily on the tutorial over at Little Green Notebook, which suggests using a large sheet of pegboard as the base. It's a pretty genius idea, but my husband and I both drive tiny cars and there is no way something that large was going to fit. (Sidebar: Tiny cars are the best! Mine gets great gas mileage and I can squeeze into the narrowest parking spaces.) So I decided to go big and build a proper frame. I even drew up a sketch with measurements for our queen sized bed.

When Brian and I went to the hardware store, we had no idea what kinds of screws to use to hold this all together, but the employee who helped us was super nice. I think it helped that we were totally upfront with about how completely over our heads we were and the three of us had a good laugh. He told us many people come in with a vague idea but no diagram, so we were already off to a good start! He suggested we use these corner brackets to hold the frame together, and it worked like a charm.

Brian showed me how to use the drill, and I took over from there. Within a couple of hours, I had put this together:

Next, I plotted out where I wanted to put the tufts (using my fabric covered buttons) on the front of the board using chalk, and then transferred the markings to the backside of the board.

Next, I attached 2" foam from Joann's using spray glue. The foam is one of the most expensive components, so I waited until it was on sale and I had one of those 15% off your entire purchase coupons. Also, I recommend getting medium or heavywight bonding spray glue. I was feeling cheap and bought the less expensive lightweight bonding can, but it wasn't strong enough and the foam fell off within a couple of hours.

After that dried, I put down a layer of high loft quilting batting, and then the fabric on top. I used 2 yards of Beige linen from Gray Lines Linen's Warsa Line. It is the linen used in the Little Green Notebook tutorial, and they even sent an adorable hand-written packing slip. According to the tutorial, you thread a needle with heavy-duty thread, push it through from the backside, add a button, push the needle and thread back through the foam, pull as taut as you can, and staple gun the whole thing in place.

This is about the point where I ran into some serious problems. The upholstery needles I bought were maybe 1 1/2" long, and so I was having a hard time pushing through the foam at a straight angle. Additionally, the thread I was using was too thin for the staples to catch. I wish I had taken a picture, but basically the buttons were just sitting on top of the fabric in a wobbly line. It looked like a drunk person had been working on it. And at that point I was so frustrated I could have used a drink.

Before I resigned myself to submitting this to CraftFail, I made an emergency trip to Hancock Fabric, where I bought thicker embroidery thread (in retrospect I wish I had bought something more akin to twine) and 5" needles meant for making dolls.

These things totally saved the day! I still had to make sure everything was lining up, but it was looking much better. By the end of weekend two, I had gotten this far:

Starting from the center and working outwards, I just kept chugging along. The buttons kept coming apart as I was pulling the thread taut, so I eventually just gave up and glue-gunned them on at the end. When I was finished, I pulled the edges of the fabric taut and staple gunned it in place from the back, then trimmed the excess fabric.

And from the front:

And its new home in my bedroom!

I got the comforter on sale from West Elm pretty recently, but the room still seemed a little bare, which is what started this whole crazy thing.

All told, I'd say I put in about $100 in materials and 25 hours in time. I'm not sure I want to build any more furniture any time soon, but I'm happy with out it came out. I'm excited to wrap this up and move on to Karen of Did You Make That's Pyjama Party.