Showing posts with label how to sew a dress. Show all posts
Showing posts with label how to sew a dress. Show all posts

Sunday, March 15, 2015

What the Art Teacher Wore #134 and a buncha other stuff

Well, hello, strangers! It's been a lil over a month since I shared with y'all a What the Art Teacher Wore post and I promise that wasn't intentional. Shortly after my last post, we were slapped with ice and snow storms that left me outta school and in my pjs for days on end. I ain't complainin. Just sayin. 

This week was totally crazy and it all began with Monday which was my birthday! I had arrived at school super duper early to start preparing for Clay Week (400 kids + 400 clay projects in 4.5 days =  jolly good fun) to find this waiting at my door...
A coupla weeks ago, I might have gotten on our school's televised morning announcements and I might have told the kids that it was our school's SRO's 72nd birthday which was only a partial lie. I mean, it was dude's birthday! AND I might have told the kids to be certain to wish him a happy day because "he might not have too many left in his advanced age". Officer Graham came to my room shortly after announcements to warn me that he'd have his revenge. And it was waiting for me on Monday...
 I gotta say, it totally made my day. I was in such a state to get to school and start prepping clay that I was a lil stressed. This gave me a laugh and a reminder that it was going to be a super fun day. Thank you, Officer Graham! 

Now, in the lovely state of Tennessee, your driver's license expires ON YOUR BIRTHDAY. Which isn't 'zactly how I like to party, ya know? So after a short trip to the DMV (always a good time), I got my new license and headed off to a board meeting. 
 Where this happened! I was recognized with the amazing educators in my district as teacher of the year. Don't ask me how my crazy self got lumped into this group of awesome but I won't tell if you don't. Shhhhhh!

So, all that jib-jab to say, it was a great Monday! AND I'm currently on spring break so it's bound to be a great week as well. I hope you all have a wonderful one and I'll be back with ya soon. 
Crazy Hair Day: A coupla weeks ago, we celebrated Read Across America week with a buncha dress up days. I opted to wear my lovely foam wig. At one point in the day, I had to reprimand a student, totally forgetting I was in my wig. I overheard another student say, "It's hard to take her seriously in that wig," to which the kid replied, "It's ALWAYS hard to take her seriously." Honestly. I get no respect. wig and tights: Target, Halloween; sweater, shoes and blouse: thrifted; skirt: Pin Up Girl clothing 
 Wacky Tacky Day: So they had a Wacky Tacky Day, or, as I like to call it, Wednesday. The kids gave me the hardest time with this, I swear! They were all, "You don't look any different! You are wacky everyday!" I was even told by one girl, "You shoulda wore jeans and a t-shirt because for you, that would have been wacky!" Ha! She does have a point. Keith Haring shirt: Forever 21; skirt: thrifted; green fishnets and blue tights: Target; shoes: Dolls by Nina
Dress like Your Fave Book Character Day: So this day sneaked up on me and I totally wore the dress I created last year. Cheater! I'm gonna have to be on my game next year and start early. You can read all about my Don't Let the Pigeon Drive the Bus dress here. 
Sunny SoCal: And now hubs and I are on vacay in California. I thought I needed some sunshine but, y'all. It's 95 degrees here during the day! I thawed out and melted into a puddle instantly. Thankfully at night, the temps drop and it's a lovely 70 degrees. Perfect for hitting Disneyland in my brand new Disney skirt! I'll have to get a proper photo soon. jacket and blouse: Buffalo Exchange; Disney skirt and bow belt: Pin Up Girl clothing

 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png

Read more »

Thursday, February 19, 2015

DIY: A Colored Pencil Dress (and Bolero!), Many Dif Ways

I know what you're thinkin', "Holy cow, Stephens, another stitched dress?!" (by the way, teacher buddies, don't you love how the minute you became a teacher, every other adult in the school addresses you by your last name? I mean, the only other time I've been called "Stephens" was when I forgot to feign cramps during P.E., walked onto the volleyball court and promptly got whacked in the head with a volleyball. Tho I vaguely recall a "Look out!" before "Stephens" which obvi did me and my molasses reflexes no good.)

Wait. Whut wuz I saying? 

Oh, yes. Another dress. 

Weelllll, don't hate me because I'm so athletic, hate me cuz I scored an entire week off! That's right, y'all. That snow day I mentioned on Monday morphed into a glorious thing called a Snow Week which is just as glittery, sparkly and absolutely divine as it sounds. Especially since we've got built-in days so we won't have to make up for lost time. And especially-especially since this dress has been an UFO (UnFinished Object) in my sewing room for the last coupla weeks and now I can scratch it off my never-ending list of UFOs (y'all. There are so many UFO's up in my sewing room that they are thinking of filming the next X-Files movie in there).
But enough of this rambling (guess who hasn't left the house in 4 days nor spoken to anyone besides the cat and her hubs?!), let's talk dress, y'all! 
So when I showed you this dress, I tole ya that there were three more from the same pattern in the works. This here's dress #2! I've never worked on three dresses at once before and I gotta say, I kinda liked it. The progress was a lot slower, obvi, but I liked working piecemeal like that. I did manage to screw up the pleats every single time on every single dress but, you know. When you work with limited brain capacity, you come to expect such things.
 
The fab fabrics I used were the pencils by Alexander Henry and these scribbles by Ed Emberly. Super cuteness, right? In fact, Anthropologie used that pencil fabric in navy for a skirt they sold last year. I love the color palette of this light green fabric, it's feels very retro to me.
For this dress, I opted to go sleeveless mostly cuz I didn't have enough of the scribble fabric. Which is cray because I always over buy my fabric. This is also how the dress is supposed to be worn. But as you mightah noticed in the early snaps, to make it work with the bolero, I did something a lil different. 

But wait, DID SOMEBODY JUST SAY BOLERO?!
Das right, y'all! I made a wee jacket to go with my dress! I decided I needed a new outfit for the art teachers conference (NAEA for those of y'all in the know) in New Orleans where it might be a lil chilly without sleeves. AND everyone knows a jacket is all kinds of professional-looking which I'm hoping to fool people into thinking I am when I present a whopping four times. Yikes! In reality, I should prolly be working on my presentations...good thing my Magical Totally Professional Looking Jacket will fool folk! 

"Golly, Janet, what was that presentation even about?!"

"I have no earthy idea, Eunice, but it sure was professional. I mean, did you see that jacket?!"
Not to mention, it's reversible, y'all.

Re.Ver.Sah.Bulll.
 
 And I kinda dig it with a lil faux lapel, don't you? It's like a lil peak-o-pencil, know what I'm saying?
 Here's how it's supposed to be worn without the faux lapel. It's a lil too blue with this ensemble. Not to mention between the jacket and the waistband I do look a lil bull-fighter-esque. Toro! Toro! 

Like I said, reversiBULL. It's all coming together now, riiiiight? 
 So the pattern I used was that vintage number shown above. It's called "Advance". Not to be confused with "Advanced" which I would never use. The silly pattern did call for me to do some hand sewing and I was all "whuuuuut?" and the pattern was all, "yeeeeeesssss." But I had to lay down the law. It's 2015, I ain't hand sewing nuthin when I got a machine that can do it in a blink. So my bolero is all sorts of top-stitched where it isn't supposed to be. But whateves, tis the reason I ain't advanced. 
 By the way, tell me honestly, does this look like I have red toilet paper accidentally tucked into the backside of my dress? Well, does it?! A good friend would be honest with me, ya know.
But wearing it this way, with the straps criss-crossed (will make ya Jump!Jump!) around the waist and tied in the back works best when wearing it with the bolero. Says me. AND I kinda dig this look all on it's own. But that's because I'm all about the big fat belt. 

And there ya have it, folks! I promise I won't share another dress post for at least a couple of days (ahem). Until then, stay warm, buddies! 

 photo signature_zpsd10b3273.png
Read more »

Sunday, October 27, 2013

DIY: Matching Monster-Mash Dress and Sweater

This is my sadistic Trick-or-Treat-If-You-Dare face. Although, five days a week, it's known as my Continue-to-Annoy-the-Art-Teacher-and-this-Smile-is-Gonna-Be-the-Last-Thing-You-See-Before-You-Enter-Timeout-Town. I blame said Town for the gray streak.
  Alright, I know what you're thinking: another Halloween DIY?! Um, yes. And a couple more to come. I know, I know. But before you think I'm employing a sweat shop in my sewing room (not a bad idea) or getting all jacked up on a candy corn/coke combo and working into the night (closer to the truth), lemme just put rumors to rest and tell you that this dress has sat finished (and unworn) in my sewing room for a coupla weeks. Mostly cuz, after putting in the final stitch, I tried the dress on and the words, "I hate this dress," came outta my mouth.
 Now when I spotted this monstrous fabric at Jo-ann's, I had to scoop it up because of it's retro-y awesomeness. This was after I made a vow at the start of September that I was Not Going to Make Another Halloween Dress. I mean, I made three last fall! That el Dia de los Muertos number, the Be-witched dress with that adorable Tammis Keefe-inspired fabric and the Horror Flick dress. A fourth dress was absolutely unnecessary! And, yet I found myself at the cutting counter loading up on a coupla yards. Because a vow made by me (even to myself!) is about as lasting as a fart in a windstorm.

After digging through my pattern stash, I settled on ole Simplicity 1803 which I've used more times than I can count. That pattern needs to be taken away from me -- it's like a bad boyfriend I just can't get away from. (My apologies, Brad Pitt, for bringing you into this blog post. But you know our relationship went on far longer than it should have. I just can't help that your enchantment for my good looks and charm was not reciprocated. Ole Ang will have to do.) 

 So sorry you had to witness that. Poor Brad.

Now, where was I? A fart in a windstorm...my break-up with Brad... hatred for this dress...ah, yes! That's it. When I got the fabric home and had settled on ole Simplicity, I decided to use black cotton on the side of the bodice as well as the back and the straps. I just thought that'd break up the pattern a bit as it's rather busy. But when all was said and done...I just had to shelf it and step away. I wasn't loving the dress and that bummed me out.
This fabric immediately had me singing Bobby "Boris" Pickett's 1962 chart topper Monster Mash. If I could get my mitts on that original album, that'd be totally Rad Pitt. By the way, this linky-loo is truly a monster mash of the best retro horror flicks ever made. Watch it.
I blame Jo-ann's and this adorable fabric for my vow-breaking. It really is all her fault. Darn that Jo-ann.
After a week-long pouting session that involved guilt-free retail therapy at the local thrift store, I came across this perfect snotty-green cardigan. I thought I could wear it over the dress and it might hide the bodice which was the source of my dress-hate. But first, I just had to felt-orize (you know, accessorize with some felt) the thing.
Like a real pro, I sketched directly onto the sweater with an ebony pencil (which, as it turns out, you can't erase for sh**) and commenced needle felting. By the way, it's nearly impossible to felt teeny-tiny details (which my subconscious kept telling me but I silenced that ole bag with a glass of wine or three) so I took to embroidering such small stuff as Drac's teeth, tie, facial features and outline.
You can clearly see the embroidery on Frank's face. I enjoyed this technique because the felt made the fabric stiff and easy to embroider. I'm definitely going to remember that for future felting/embroidering adventures.
Now, lemme interrupt this hear blog post so we can talk about My Hairs. I've mentioned before how I've gotten rather lazy with my hair stylings of late. Well, recently I received an email from the folks behind the website The Amazings. If you've not heard of it, The Amazings is a website that offers classes by mature and experienced artists with a multi-mission: Preserving knowledge. Celebrating handmade. Encouraging generations to collaborate. Sharing stories. We don't have one purpose. Our craft classes are a means to many ends.

Doesn't that sound...amazing?! Let me tell you, it truly is. I was generously offered Glamous Retro Hair Do's taught by hair stylist Michael. This course was broken into six separate mini-classes which demonstrated how to set and style three retro do's: a 1930's chignon, a 1950's rockabilly look and a 1960's Bardot style. I literally sat with a pencil and paper, took notes and made sketches, that's how informative I found this to be! For today's Bride of Frankenstein-esque look, I watched Michael demonstrate how to roll one's hair in rollers (correctly as I've been doing it all wrong!) and style to achieve a desired look. My favorite take-away tidbit was when Michael said you don't have to make your hair look exactly like some specific retro style but make it "your own interpretation." 

I'll be certain to try out more hair stylings in the future from this course and, when I do, I'll let you know. There are so many other amazing (sorry, I had to say it!) craft courses on this website, I'm excited to try some more.
 Once my felting was complete, I re-tried the dress on, added the sweater and belt and was...much happier, I gotta admit. Now I'm the proud creator of FOUR Halloween dresses. Surely there will be no need to make any more...(don't call me Shirley).

Until next time, I hope you have an exciting couple of days getting ready for the most spooky holiday of the year! I've got a costume to put together (hint: I'm dressing as this month's Artist of the Month!)...fingers crossed I finish in time. 

Are you dressing up? Whatcha gonna be? I'm dying to know! Oh...Brad's IM'ing me...again...gotta run!
Read more »

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

DIY: Gone Cuckoo

I know, I think it's sacrilege to decorate for Christmas before Thanksgiving as well but I was just dying to hang my new cuckoo ornaments on my tree. If it makes you feel better, I still have Halloween decorations up. From last year.
 As you might recall from my previous post, I've gone completely cuckoo. More so than usual. Remember I told you I was crafting a new dress from some super cute fabric by Kelly Lee-Creel's Storybook Lane collection? Well, here it is! And not only is it a brand new dress...it's a brand new pattern (cuz you know I usually just sew this dress...over and over and over and over). It was a pattern that truly tried my patience and made me question humanity so it's a marvelous miracle I was able to pull it off.

Now I've only sewn from two dress patterns, this one and the aforementioned. One was vintage, this one contemporary, both Simplicity. I like their patterns because the directions are clear(ish) and come with plenty of pictures (that I had a lot of fun coloring when I wasn't gouging out the eyes of the model in frustration).

My first dress with pockets!

Sometimes, whilst frustrated, I dubbed this the "Nine Levels of Hell" dress after Dante's Inferno. I ain't even gonna pretend I'm the least bit literary, I've never read the book. Or poem. Or is it a limerick? Dunno. What I do know is that at least eight of those levels of my Dress Making Hell where trapped in the land of The Sleeve.

Would you believe I had to take several photos of this sleeve because my ugly-old-lady-wrinkly-elbow kept photo bombing the picture? Hence the hand-on-elbow.
 This sleeve had many a problem. Firstly, look at that inverted "V" thingie. Cute, right? Not so much when you've had to seam rip it seven times and redo. And just look at it. It's still as wrinkly as my elbow. In the other photos, you'll see that the sleeve is tufted or puffy or pleated (can I get a correct word here, please?) on top. Boy that was fun. The first sleeve actually took me just under two hours to complete. Do you hear me? Dos horas.That translates to something like "too freakin' long!"
 You know, because inverted "V" sleeves just aren't hellacious enough, why not add one to the neckline? This one was actually not nearly as bad as the others. Prob because I'd had all those hours of practice.
Can we please pause a moment and take a look at my hair? Because it actually did what I told it to today. All thanks really to my amazing new hair dresser Jesse Linares. Not only did I get a great haircut, but, after removing my bumpit like a doctor would an alien baby (complete with appalled expression and wonderment), he gave me an amazing teasing comb. That's right, this big 'do is sans bumpit.
 As usual, when the dress making hell just became too much, I resorted to crafting. I had all of these adorable cuckoo clock scraps that I just couldn't bear to part with. So I decided to create some ornaments out of them.

 A friend of mine gave me a bunch of jewelry gift boxes in various sizes. I painted the brown boxes completely white and once try, I added lilac or light blue to the lids. Using a tiny brush, I added a pattern of lines.
 I cut out several of the clocks (using my tiny sewing scissors for the job) and Modge Podged them onto the lid. I bedazzled 'em with some gold glitter glue, drilled holes in the top for the string (and bottom of a couple for the buttons to hang from) and viola! Cuckoo Ornaments!
 After making the first batch of ornaments, I went back upstairs and tried to decide if my dress actually needed two sleeves. I mean, I could bring back the asymmetrical look, right? I decided to go back to crafting.
 These guys were created on the larger lids with random bits of wood. Did you know you can cut popsicle sticks with scissors? It's the truth, Ruth. I hot glued these together and spray painted them in my neighbor's yard. Didn't want to mess up my own grass.
A little work-in-progress photo.
After some spray painting, bedazzling and gluing, I was ready to hang these guys too. I used cinnamon sticks at the bottom of this clock.
 After all that crafting, there was nothing left to do but return to my dress. It turns out that the hard part was over as attaching the skirt, taking up the hem and inserting the zipper were all things I'd done before. And that's a good thing, because I've already cut out a couple more versions of this dress that are waiting to be sewn. These new ones, however, will be sleeveless. 

Thanks for dropping by!




Read more »