Showing posts with label simplicity 1803. Show all posts
Showing posts with label simplicity 1803. Show all posts

Monday, February 11, 2013

DIY: A Poodle-tastic Valentines Dress

Dude, that hair! The other day, I was having a "serious talk" with a student when I noticed her eyes kept wandering up, up and up to the top of my head. It's no small wonder these kids can focus on anything besides that giant 'do. (And by " 'do" I mean hairdo, not something I recommend you "do". Unless you are so inclined to backcombing and hair-hosing, er, spraying).
Well, Happy Almost-Valentine's Day to you! You got some big lovely-dovely plans in your future? Aw, ain't that sweet (gag). Me? Oh, you know, hubs and I will prob just do our usual: enjoy some delish Greek take-out, open cat-themed Valentines cards we both barely remembered to grab at the Walgreens on the corner and snuggle up next to the space heater to catch an episode of Dual Survival (does anyone else miss Dave besides us?) on our craptop. I know. Super sappy gaggy stuff. Don't hate.
I'm stoked to wear this dress on Thursday even if the kids won't be thrilled. Every dress I've created since that light-up number has been received with an, "Eh, that's neat. But does it do anything?" I'm thinking I might need one of those squirt-you-in-the-eye roses as a brooch. Too mean?
 But enough about my romance life, let's chat about this here dress. It was created on a miraculous gift sent straight from Teacher Heaven: A Snow Day. Or, as I decided to dub it, A Sew Day. When I heard the news that morning, I hopped right up and decided to make the most of it. The pieces of this dress had already been cut and I was so thrilled I had a day to put it together.

Yeah, yeah, I know I said I'd try out some new dress patterns this New Year but I just felt this fabric was meant to be this dress pattern. The fabric is from Alexander Henry, one of my fave fabric design companies. So much retro-y cuteness!

I felt pretty self-assured when starting the dress since I've made a Cuckoo Clock Frock, a Gnome-y Dress and that aforementioned light-up number from the same pattern. So I was a little annoyingly surprised when I struggled with the V at the neckline and the fit and finish around the bust line and waist. I did get mighty distracted catching up on episodes of Project Runway (there's a fellow Nashvillian in this season's lineup!) and a mid-day bubble bath (don't judge) so maybe that was part of the problem.
 Creepy Doubles Photo. Sorry, but am I the only one that finds side-by-sides creepy? Then why do it? Cuz I am creepy, yo! By the way, the photo on the right is how I'll most likely be wearing my V-Day dress. This sweater is a DIY from ages ago that gets little air time. I think it suits this dress nicely.

I think part of my struggle is: I DON'T REALLY KNOW HOW TO SEW. There, I said it. Whew! It's finally off my chest. And don't you go leavin' a comment saying otherwise because that's just like tellin' a buck-toothed, too-skinny, four-eyed girl she should model (here). I've known that I've been fakin' and fudgin' it for a while and when this dress just didn't come together as it should, I knew it to be true.
 Awkward Hands Photo.

However, that doesn't mean I'm going to give up. Oh no. I'm determined to get better. But this dress helped me realized that just going down the same sewing path over and over was not going to improve my sewing skills. I've got to learn how to sew the right way. Awkward hands and all.
 Hands in Awkward Place Photo. Really? I mean what pattern drafter decided that the pockets should be right there. Kinda awkward, right?

So I'm giving myself a sewing course. No, I'm not taking some local class, I'm gonna start by reading one of the many sewing books I've purchased over the years. In fact, I began reading Gertie's Book for Better Sewing this weekend and I've already learned so much...and come to realize how little I know. In fact, this book may be a little bit too advanced for me, but I'm goin' it anyway. I'll keep you posted.
In the meantime, I'm still wearing this dress regardless of my flubs. I'd show you a photo of the backside but that's where my problems seem to show the most (in more ways than one)...and I already shared one embarrassing photo within the last 24 hours, I don't think I'm ready for more.
Outfit details: hair clips: DIY here; dress: moi, of course!; belt: Pin Up Girl Clothing; red tights: Target; sparkly fishnets: TJMaxx; leopard print heels: Goodwill
All that blabbering aside, I do hope you have a lovely Valentine's Day! I know it'll be nothing as divine as my Greek Food/Cat Card/Space Heater/Survival Show affair, but what can you do? Not everyone can live la vida loca.

Until next time, xox!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

DIY: Gnome for the Holidays

Ah! Giant Photo Alert! Just tryin' to make sure you can see the gnome-tastic-ness happening at the bottom of my dress. AND that annoying yoke thing that you can easily see put more wrinkles on my face and gray in my hair. I shoulda known anything called a yoke was gonna be trouble...guess the yoke was on me.
 Greetings from my gnome to your gnome! I present to you the latest in Crazy Art Teacher Style: The Gnome for the Holidays Dress. Please, make yourself at gnome as you read all about the trials and tribulations of the dress I worked on until the cows came gnome. And I promise you that will be that last of my home-meets-gnome idioms for at least a full 30 seconds. But that's all I can promise.
I'd like to have you believe that this dress was created for the children. After all, my wee artists are learning all about gnomes in art class (mini-gnome history lesson here) and I do love to dress the part.

But that "for the children" bit, that's just a complete lie.

One late night, whilst googling gnomes, I stumbled upon this Michael Miller fabric (from his collection so awesomely called Gnomeville) and I just knew I had to have it in my life and in my wardrobe. Because, in those quiet contemplative moments I have between one crazy art class to the next, I often think, "what is missing from my life?"

"Duh. A Gnome Dress."

While waiting for my fab fabric to arrive in the mail, I began plotting out my dress-terpiece. I decided to use the same Simplicity Pattern #1803 that I used on my Cuckoo Clock Dress and my Light-Up Blue Christmas Dress. Always a glutton for sewing punishment, I decided to attempt the yoke and cap sleeves for this dress. I felt for sure I was about to hit a fashion gnome run (it's been 30 seconds, right?).
And then the fabric arrived. All two yards of it. Oops. Turns out ordering gnome fabric in the middle of the night is not a good idea. After laying out the pattern pieces, I realized I could make the bodice of this dress but not the full skirt. But more on that later. 

For now, let's have a chat about the yoke. 

I'd like to summarize my feelings about the yoke in a little haiku I wrote one night while seam ripping for the umpteenth time. It goes a little something like this. Ahem:

For the love of gnomes
An art teacher makes a dress
Foiled! By a yoke!

Look, it's just a rough draft. I'm working on it.
To be fair, it wasn't the yoke's fault. I blame the author of the pattern that chose to leave out some vital steps. Having limited sewing experience, I am a strict step follower. So when this pattern just skipped several steps, I did too. And then the seam ripping commenced. When that became too annoying, I did a quick google search to find out what others were saying about the pattern. Several shared my frustration but then I read one that burned me up (read in your most annoying Nellie Oleson voice): "Oh, this is a great pattern for a beginner sewer."
Oh, gnome she didn't! After reading that, I snapped my laptop shut, stomped up to my sewing room, grabbed my seam ripper and went to town. Then I went about pinning the entire bodice together adding in the steps the author left out. When that worked, I unpinned the whole contraption and sewed it together. Yoke, you have replaced my hatred of sleeves. When it came time for the skirt, I decided to use my tried and true vintage Simplicity Pattern #8087. I opted for the skirt in view #2 but adding pockets from the other pattern. It's quite the hybrid of a dress.

Using two different patterns together had me nervous. I wasn't sure if the pocket thing would work and if the bodice and skirt would actually fit together. However, putting in that yoke made me bold enough to think I could do it. And it really was a snap. I opted to wear the bow of the belt in the back so as not to take away from my gnomies at the bottom of the dress.
The following day, when I wore it to school, the kids had great fun chillin' wit my gnomies.
Probably because we've been chatting about them for some time. Remember that midnight gnome fabric shopping spree I told you about? Well, I also picked up the two books on the left from a used book seller via amazon. The hilarious gnome book on the right is from my super Secret Santa at school.
And it turns out gnomes-disease is quite contagious. My sweet first grade artists have been bringing in these drawings since we began learning about them. They are currently creating a beautiful Black Forrest collage for their gnomes to call home. I'll be certain to share those with you soon.
Even my house is looking like Gnomeville from my Christmas tree (which is still up and will most likely stay up for entirely too long) to my knicky-knacks (thanks again, Secret Santa!). I do believe I have a new addiction.
Although, I don't think this is gonna be my "starter gnome" because I don't foresee too many more gnome frocks in my future. Especially with a yoke. However, since finishing this thing, I've updated my haiku. What's that? You wanna hear it? Well, (waving hand sheepishly) okay:

Yoke, who's yo mama?
Why, me and my seam ripper
And my wee gnomies.

Thanks for dropping by!