Tis the Season of Broken Irons

I could sense my iron was on the fritz when the digital temp guide wouldn't stop blinking, indicating that it was still heating up. Unfortunately, my cottons never got very crisp in the past month or two.

Recently I noticed that whenever I pushed the button to select the next temp level the once loud 'BEEP' was now a feeble, barely noticeable 'beep'. At first I thought my hearing was going bad ('oh for the love of gawd!' I thought), but then I came to my senses and realized my iron was nearing its death. And at the worst possible moment. I was in the midst of making a quilt as a gift for my close friend's first born! A quilt requires many seams. A quilt requires much pressing. A quilt requires high temps to get those seams pressed open!

I lugged out my vintage GE iron that I scored for $5 at an estate sale a year ago. I didn't know at that the time whether it worked, but for $5 I figured it would at the very least be an inexpensive decoration. I found out soon after that it did work (with a slight smell of something burning!). However I didn't use it much after that first test, because hello, burning smell. don't want to burn the whole house down.

But I was desperate for an iron. Thankfully the burning smell eventually dissipated and I was left with a sturdy, heavy hunk of metal that heated up quick and stayed hot! It got me through the quilt and some lightweight blouse making. And then one day. Poof. The heat disappeared and I was left with a cold iron.

Around this time I saw Heather Lou of Closet Case Files write about needing a new iron. I saw either on my blog feed or instagram that another fellow sewist was without iron too. I read through all of the comments on Heather Lou's post hoping to find a consensus on what iron to buy. However, despite a resounding love of gravity feeds, which I am not in the market for, there was so much variety in the reviews of irons. It's a similar scenario on other review sites (Amazon, BBB, Target, etc.).

Funny enough, one iron that has a ton of reviews and a fairly high average on Amazon is the exact iron that felled me: the Black and Decker Digital Advantage. I never thought it was that amazing, but then I remembered that I bought it sometime before September 2008. (I was still living in Long Beach when I bought it and I moved out of LB in 9/2008). For simplicity's sake Let's say I bought it in 2007. That sucker lasted almost 8 years. I don't know what the median age is for irons in the modern era, but I think anything over 5 and close to 10 is pretty good. Sure, I couldn't put any water in it the last year of its life or else risk leaking water everywhere. But since I wasn't trying to win any ironing awards I did without any steam function and resorted to a separate spray bottle to get out tough wrinkles.

I've been putting off buying a new iron for about a week or two. But as any sewist knows, you need an iron! I finally sucked it up and went to Target during my lunch break this week. Target doesn't have a big selection of irons in-store so my decision was already halfway made at that point. Thankfully my cell service was working pretty well to help me find some reviews. The online reviews (from Amazon) of the three Black and Decker models offered in-store were terrible. A couple Shark models were available, but I couldn't find many reviews so I passed on those. There were three Rowenta models and, while Rowenta seems to be a love it or hate it brand, I decided to buy the most expensive one, the DW8061. I don't have any good reason for why I put down the $50 model and grabbed the more expensive one. I guess I'm just hoping that more money means better product.....*fingers crossed!*

90 bucks later (ugh!) and I'm the proud owner of a new iron. I partially regret not buying the cheaper model, but I'm going to submit this purchase into the Citi Price Rewind program (with which my husband has had good success) and see if the price goes down low enough to get some sort of refund.

I have no idea how this iron will work. I really just want something with steam (I really have missed this function) and an iron that will have reliable temperature, especially a setting hot enough to get my cottons and linens crisp! If I remember, I'll do a proper review of this iron in 6-12 months once I've had adequate time to discover any nuances.

What iron do you have? Are there any brands that you absolutely love or stay away from?


Labor Day Sewing Plans

A 3-day weekend is upon us in the States! Yes!! I don't know what I'm more excited about: finally entering September or having an "extra" day to mill around.

I don't know about you, but August has felt so freaking long. It's the same number of days as July, but for some reason July seemed to fly by. Despite taking a vacation in early August (see photos above and below....I Miss You, Seattle!!), I feel like this month has been lingering around for way too long. It's time to kick August to the curb and get around to Fall.

There is some house stuff I want to accomplish this weekend, but I mainly want to tackle some sewing projects! The past several weekends were devoted to sewing a gift, but now that's it finished I can go back to selfish sewing. I made a trip to the FIDM scholarship store during my lunch break this week and oooh boy, it felt good. I had a self-imposed ban on shopping there until I finished the gift I was making so it's probably been a month since I've been there. Somewhat disappointingly, there was nothing there that made me think "omfg I have to have it!", but I did purchase a couple items.

The blue safety pin is a silk fabric that was $5/yard. It looked to be about 45" wide so I got 1.5 yards. I'm not sure what the other two fabrics are; they're silk-like, but were only $2/yard so probably not silk and most likely polyester. Both were about 60" wide so I only got 1yd of each. Difficult to tell in the photo (due to the flash...sorry), but the polka dot fabric is a bit sheer so I'll need to wear a camisole underneath whatever blouse I end up making, but no biggie.

I want to make another Sewaholic Belcarra blouse (with a few modifications to fit better) and another version of a really simple McCalls blouse that I just recently made (and will share soon!). If you can't tell, I'm on a mission to make simple blouses. Tops that I can easily throw on and pair with slacks or a suit to wear to work. I'm sick and tired of paying up the wazoo for silky-but-not-really-silk blouses at Ann Taylor and BR. It's about time I make some myself.

I also stopped by Mood this week on my way home from work one day. I almost had to call an audible because I couldn't find parking on my first drive-by. But I persevered and found a spot on my second try. I forgot that during weekday rush hour you can't park along the street and a nearby open lot is filled with office workers in the area so available parking is significantly reduced. But in the end, my trip was meant to be! If you find yourself in a similar situation, just circle around a couple times and look out for permit parking restrictions.

My main reason for shopping at Mood was to get fabric for my husband's vest! I recently made a muslin of Simplicity 4762 Version C and it fit pretty well (look beyond the hokey pattern cover!). Honestly, the pattern seems so freaking simple because there aren't any frills. The flap on the front is just that. A flap. Welt pocket fake-out! I offered to make actual welt pockets, but my husband said it wasn't necessary......but I might try my hand at it. I mean where else is he going to stash his monocle and pocket watch?

The main hangup in finishing this vest was just a matter of finding the right fabric. Mood has a pretty good selection of suiting fabric, although the first 10 fabrics I cooed over were in the $60-$80/yd range! yikes! I eventually found a couple Georgio Armani fabrics for $20/yd, which seemed like a steal at that point. Gah, Georgio Armani is a steal?! wtf. Luckily the pattern only calls for 1 1/8, but I got 1 1/4 just in case. I also needed a lining and oh man am I terrible at selecting lining. The lining I liked the most based on touch unfortunately had a Balenciaga logo all over it. Since the vest has the lining fabric used on the right side for the back bodice, I didn't think my husband would appreciate such a distracting logo. I ended up getting an inexpensive Thakoon acetate lining for a whopping $2/yd. It's my first run at making a men's vest, so I'm not going for pure luxury here.

I also threw in a yard of an Anna Sui poly at $10/yd. Umm...hello, look at those stars! How could I pass it up!? The black is a bit faded looking, but whatevs. Again, the flash ruined everything, but I wanted to get these photos and post up before the weekend....sorry! Unfortunately I couldn't find any of these fabrics online....sorry, again!

Along with all the fabric I picked up at The Fabric Store back in June during the LA Sewist Meet-up, I'd say I'm well stocked for a full weekend of sewing! What sewing or non-sewing plans do you have for Labor Day???


{Finished Objects} 1...2...3 Monetas!

I have several Monetas to share with you today. I thought about doing separate posts for all three since they were made with different types of knits and I constructed each of them a bit differently. Buuuuutttt, I figured that might get a bit boring for ya'll. So instead this will be quite a photo-heavy post.

I made my first Moneta Dress in a black ponte knit that I got a Jo-Anns. I was so excited to make this dress that I couldn't wait till the weekend to find a knit so I stopped by Jo-Anns on my way home from work one day and bought the solid knit that had the nicest touch. There's not much stretch, but it's really soft.

I originally cut the bodice in a size XS, but due to the lack of stretch in this fabric, I could barely fit it over my shoulders and bust so I re-cut the bodice in a size S (I don't know about you, but I find that Colette Patterns suggests a lot more fabric than is needed, at least for the smaller sizes; thankfully this time I bought the suggested fabric requirement so I had enough leftover to re-cut another bodice). There ended up being a bit of extra fabric pooling at the bust/armhole, which I now know how to fix thanks to Miss Make's tutorial.


I definitely struggled with the clear elastic gathering at the top of the skirt, but practice makes perfect so I'll just keep at it. My recommendation is to just stretch the hell out of it in order to gather properly.

I stitched this dress entirely on my regular sewing machine with a narrow, but longer zig-zag stitch and everything seems to look fine. The only reason I didn't use my serger is because at the time I had white thread on it and I did not want to change thread. I originally interfaced the collar and ties, but I eventually took out the interfacing because the ties became super stiff and awkward-looking.


I paired this dress with teal flats and got my first handmade wardrobe compliment! I was leaving work and entered an elevator with an older lady. She immediately exclaimed, "that is such a pretty dress!". My husband said that was such an old lady thing to say, but whatever, I'll take it! Also, in case you were wondering, it is really freaking difficult to take self-timed photos of a black dress!

I decided to try making a Moneta shirt/blouse because this was around the time the Nettie bodysuit came out from Closet Case Patterns and I saw Lauren's post about transforming it into a close-fitting shirt. I figured the Moneta could become a shirt too and I had this beige/cream striped fabric laying around just waiting to be turned into a shirt.

I spent a lot of time cutting everything so the stripes would match at the seams and at the collar. I had just enough fabric to match everything. I did not interface the collar, but totally regret it because there are ripples around the edges and it sorta flops around. I think it looks really sad :(

I cut a size S bodice, but ended up taking in the side seams a bunch so I'm pretty sure I ended up with an XS bodice. This fabric has more stretch than the black ponte and I wanted a close-fitting shirt anyway. I wish I had lengthened the bodice a bit more because it's a tad too short to wear untucked with jeans. It does look pretty good tucked into shorts and skirts though.

I don't have a walking foot so the stripes at the side seams don't match too well. I also did a piss poor job of using stitch witchery at the hem so the hem doesn't look as good. But overall I'm pretty happy with it and can definitely see myself making more shirts with this pattern.


The 2nd Moneta dress I made was out of some slinky knit; I can only guess that it might be a rayon blend because it has great drape, but was a bit slippery to work with. I bought it for $2/yard at the FIDM scholarship store so I don't know the exact content of this fabric. I used an XS this time because the fabric has a lot of stretch.


I did a terrible job at constructing this dress, but it's so comfy to wear. I still can't tell if this fabric print is awesome or terrible on me, but whatever, idgaf. I tried serging the pockets to the skirt and almost completely ruined the dress. If I stand straight, then you can see the seam is wonky, but it's not that noticeable thanks to the movement of this dress. The Moneta sewalong came out after I made all three versions so I didn't find out till much later that you really should attach the pockets to the skirt using a regular machine zig-zag stitch. Lesson learned.....

Not much else to say about this dress. I used stitch witchery on the sleeves and hem because it was difficult to keep the two layers from shifting without a walking foot. This time I made sure to press the hell out of it with a damp cloth to make sure the stitch witchery adhered (or melted?) to the fabric to keep it in place.

I actually have a fourth Moneta in the works. I'm making a sleeveless version that may end up reversible since I plan on fully lining it. I'm excited about its potential so hopefully it turns out as good as I'm imagining it in my head!

How many Monetas have you made???? Based on other blogs I follow I know that I'm not the only one slightly obsessed with this pattern. :)

P.S. sorry for the perpetual bitch-face in all of my photos. I cannot for the life of me take a good smiling photo of myself using the self timer. (or when I do capture a smile I end up cutting off half of my head...see above photo) I have total derp face when I try to smile, so unfortunately all of my "best" photos have me looking like a total biatch instead. #sorrynotsorry


{Finished Object} Closet Case Bombshell Swimsuit

Despite my love of beachin' and poolin' I absolutely hate shopping for swimsuits. I am distinctly two different sizes on the top and bottom so I have to be able to buy tops and bottoms separately. Also, I'm a born cheapskate and the thought of shelling out $80 (easily) for a swimsuit that, let's be honest, uses hardly ANY fabric, just kills my soul every time I go shopping for a new suit.

I have two swimsuits in my closet. One I bought when I was in high school. HIGH SCHOOL! that was ages ago. It sorta, kinda, not really, still fits. It's a bit tight on the bottom because some areas of my body (cough**my hips and ass**cough) have expanded over the years. The other swimsuit I bought while I spent a summer in Hawaii during college. It has a really cool wrap top, but the bottoms are too big because I couldn't buy the top and bottom separately. I was so tempted to switch out sizes in the dressing room, but I couldn't bring myself to do it so I just always look like I have a saggy bottom whenever I wear it (in other words, suuuuuuper sexy!).

When I saw the release of the Bombshell swimsuit last year, I was very intrigued. I definitely wanted to at least try to make one. I bought some fabric and elastic at Michael Levine's last August, but never pulled the trigger on the pattern. Why? I dunno know....

Fast forward to the recent Pattern Parcel package, and after seeing a ton of reviews again I finally bought the pattern. Although I just bought it straight from Heather Lou's website....I guess I just wanted her to have all the proceeds. Anyway, I guess after reading all the reviews I expected this pattern to be easy peasey......well....it wasn't for me. It's not impossible, but I definitely struggled with it.

I first got hung up on the sizing. I didn't have that much extra lining fabric so I didn't want to make a muslin and then find out the sizing was all wrong. So I tried estimating the modifications just based on the front fabric piece. Well, it took me a really long time (probably at least an hour or two) to realize that I needed to look at the front LINING piece to determine the correct size. I kid you not, I looked at the fabric piece and thought, "oh shit, I need to shorten it by 7 INCHES!". Well, my senses finally came to me after I read through the sew-along for maybe the third time and a light bulb went off. Even though I'm only 4'-11", when I measured the LINING pattern piece between the approximate top of the suit to the crotch area, it didn't seem like I needed to shorten the bodice at all!

Cutting all the pattern pieces was a total breeze, but I started having problems when I was pinning the lining to the main fabric. Both fabrics were so delicate and light and kept rolling in or out. It was a bit frustrating. Basting all the back and front seams wasn't a big deal, but then gathering took me a really freaking long time. The entire time I kept thinking, "there is NO WAY anyone else takes this long at gathering....wtf is wrong with me?" So finally after an eternity, all seams were gathered.

Then I made probably the worst decision during the construction of this suit. I decided to serge the gathered pieces. I did however hand baste the ends before serging, but still.....I totally effed up the pieces by serging them. I just really wanted a nice enclosed seam.....but I am not an expert on serging and I had such a difficult time getting the gathered fabric evenly through the serger. My serged seams look terrible!

Then to make things even worse, when I serged my back pieces together, the basted serge seams showed through on the right side! I'm just the worst serger....(serger-ist?)

Anyway, I needed a lot of hand-holding so I diligently followed the sewalong posts (thank god for those! Heather Lou, they were a life-saver!). My next big 'oh shit' moment was when I needed to baste the lining to the main fabric along the top of the swimsuit. Because my serging skills are so bad, the lining definitely got shifted and scrunched down into the side seams so the lining seriously probably ended up half an inch to an inch shorter than the main fabric. I cut off some of the main fabric on the back to better match the lining, but on the front I pulled up the lining to match the main fabric so things are a bit stretched to the max on the front.

If you plan on adding foam cups to your swimsuit, I would recommend adding them in at the very beginning. Sure, you won't have a finished suit to better estimate where to add the cups, but it'll be so much easier to sew them in at that earlier stage. You can pretty easily guess where the cups need to go. One additional change I made was lining my (white) foam cups in the navy lining. When I was figuring out the placement of the cups, I noticed they were very visible under the main fabric. It was very distracting, at least to me, so I lined them to better blend with the swimsuit.

Other than, no real changes to the pattern. I was thrilled that I didn't have to make any changes to fit my body! I guess my bodice is normal length (between the bust and crotch, ha!), I just have super short legs. If I were to make any changes to the next version, I would shorten the front bottom "skirt/cover portion" and raise up the bottom a bit. But that is so minor....

So funny story to end this epically long blog post where all I did was whine about how horrible I am at using my serger. I told my husband that I was making a swimsuit. Midway through he came by my sewing room to see how it was progressing. I could tell that he was aware there was a lot of fabric for a swimsuit, so I mentioned that I was making a retro/vintage inspired swimsuit design. and he asked so disdainfully, "are there shorts?" I said technically no, but there is a bit of a cover-up portion. He didn't look very impressed with my answer, but when I was finished and modeled it for him, he was very, very impressed. He said it turned out waaaay better than he was imagining and he thinks it's very flattering. Let me tell you, that is saying a lot coming from someone who is always telling me that I dress so conservatively (not that there's anything wrong with that!). So yes, this swimsuit is husband-approved!

I'm so in awe of how cleverly designed this pattern is. I remember looking at the pattern after I cut all the pieces and thinking, 'how the fuck does this go together?' For something that looks very complicated, it really isn't that difficult to make.

If you're not confident in your serger skills, I would recommend machine basting/sewing everything and then finishing the seams with your serger. That is definitely what I will be doing next time. Also, I looked at one of my bathing suits and noticed it was top-stitched with a twin needle. I'm tempted to try this on my next one instead of using a zig-zag top-stitch. I'm so thrilled with the outcome that I can't wait to make another one and now I want to try out a bunch of other swimsuit patterns! I'm so happy I no longer am forced to go swimsuit shopping!!


A Quilting Cotton Belcarra Blouse

I'm a huge fan of Sewaholic Patterns as is evidenced here here here here and here and I always look forward to the new patterns. However, I was on the fence with the Belcarra blouse. I initially thought it was really casual, which I don't really need more of; I'm really on a mission to make more work-appropriate garments. But then I saw Miss Crayola Creepy's version and I became convinced that it could fill a void in my office wardrobe. The fabric (color, print, and material) can really transform this pattern.

Despite knowing better, I used a quilting cotton to make this version. It's a Pat Bravo design "premium" quilting cotton fabric (NouvElle - Femme Fatale) that I bought at Sew Modern. I was hoping to find some rayon challis or voile, but I kept going back to this print even though I knew I shouldn't be using quilting cotton for shirts/blouses. However, I just couldn't pass up this beautiful print. In case you're wondering if this blouse can be made in a quilting cotton, yes, technically it can, but it would be so much better in a fabric with a lot more drape and a lot less stiffness. Let me tell you why.....

While I love the print and think it's absolutely beautiful, the fabric type is all wrong for this pattern. It's interesting how when you first try on a garment after making it you may think, "it looks ok, but I could see how maybe I should have tweaked this", but after you wear the garment for a full day you really notice what fits well and what doesn't.

I wore it to work the other day and all day I couldn't stop futzing over my blouse, tugging it down, moving my bra straps, making sure the front neckline didn't poof out in front fully exposing my bust.....ugh. I spent a good chunk of time trying to figure out how I could modify it so I wouldn't risk exposing myself with every slight movement. I'm thinking of adding some pleats or tucks to the front neckline.

For awhile I thought maybe I needed a forward shoulder adjustment, but nope, the shoulder seam is perfectly fine when the blouse is tugged down and I stand up straight with my shoulders back (or in other words, I hold myself in a perfect posture). But as soon as I start moving, especially hunched over my keyboard, all hell breaks loose.

I tried capturing these movements in the photos, but every time I took a photo I was disappointed to see that it looked fine. I swear it doesn't look fine in real life! The quilting cotton is way too stiff and every time I move it just poofs out. I most definitely should have used a fabric that drapes well (and so should you!).

Anyway, enough complaining about my poor fabric choices.....on to the pattern.....I made the Belcarra in a straight 0 with no modifications other than the cuffs. I didn't even shorten the blouse, but I think I should have shortened it about an inch. I would like to wear this blouse untucked most of the time and I think it's currently a tad bit too long.

I had a really difficult time sewing on the cuffs. I don't know if I stretched the sleeves during cutting or construction, but they were significantly longer than the cuffs and I pretty much either had to gather the sleeves or stuff them in near the underarm seam (that's the route I took....why??? i have no idea because it looks ugly.) I ended up sewing on the cuffs differently than instructed. It was really late at night when I was finishing it and didn't want to take out my serger one last time to finish the seams. So I sewed the cuffs on the wrong side of the sleeves, then turned the cuffs over to the right side and stitched them down. I'm actually strongly considering removing the cuffs and just turning the sleeve hem under because my massive guns feel too constricted.

In case you can't tell in the photos, there is a lot of extra fabric at the high bust edge/inner armhole. I think I need to tuck out an inch of fabric between the bust and shoulder. Also, the blouse is a bit snug across my bust so I plan on grading out to a size 2 just at the bust.

Overall, I like this pattern. It looks basic and simple, but there are so many options for customizing it that once I get the fit down right (and use the correct fabric type), it could be a great block to make a variety of blouses. What do you think??

I bought the pdf pattern and was very impressed to see it included an index of the sheets and clearly labeled which pages you would need to print out for each version. That is a detail I think most pdf pattern users would appreciate.


2014 Mid-Year Check-In

Hello hello! I'm still blogging....just very very infrequently. I have so many draft blog posts, but I've been super lazy about taking photos of my finished (or in-progress) makes. Most of the photos in this mid-year check-in post are from Instagram.....which is just so convenient. The pics look decent on a phone, but not so good on a full-size screen.....sorry not sorry.

Here's a nice photo to start things off on a good foot. It's all downhill after this one!

Man oh man, where the heck did time go?

A lot has happened in the first half of 2014, in my personal and sewing life. I haven't blogged since March! I think the best way to get back into blogging is to do a check-in, so here we go:

I started 2014 with a sewing goal: 8 projects. I actually forgot what I had on that list and had to look at my blog post to see what I told myself to sew this year! (I also had planned on listing the 8 projects on my sidebar and crossing off each one as I completed it, but hello, laziness!)

I'm actually doing pretty well with the goal! Madalynne recently discussed "Fast Sewing", which she described as the sewing world getting caught up in every new pattern release or fabric and rushing to create them to be in the "in crowd". I can't say I'm above all that because I do cave-in when I see a pattern I really like, but I don't sew very fast. I think it's because I usually have to make several modifications for a patten fit me right and my sewing/fitting skills aren't quite to that point where I know exactly what to fix on the first couple tries. I only listed 8 projects as a goal this year because I didn't want to pressure myself to go too fast and I knew it would leave me time to work on other stuff.

Anyway, back to the 8 Projects. I'm over halfway there! How convenient! I made a sleeveless Emery Dress, another Emery Dress, the Zinnia skirt, and Coat/Jacket. I decided to swap the Robson Trench Coat for the Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket, which was about the right length of coat I wanted. I haven't blogged this jacket yet, but I did Instagram it several times. I probably should add that it's actually only 98% finished because I still haven't sewn on the buttons. I discovered the other day that my buttons are a tad bit too big for the buttonholes I made....oops! Oh well. I also finished the Closet Case Patterns Bombshell swimsuit (which is ah-maze-ing!) right at the end of  June so I'm counting it as a first half of the year make.

I've also made a couple other things this year:
3 Monetas (one turned into a shirt), a third Emery Dress (although I've unpicked some parts and still need to fix it), the Deer and Doe Belladone Dress, and another Sewaholic Tofino PJ pants. I'm also halfway through a fourth Moneta; I just purchased "lining" fabric, but it may turn out to be a reversible dress (keep your fingers crossed!) And I haven't blogged about any of these! Although all of them except one have been Instagrammed.

I am also working on a muslin for a blazer (the Simplicity Amazing Fit pattern) because I noticed this year that a well-fitted blazer is a serious hole in my wardrobe. I ran into some fit issues around the front armscye/sleeve area so that muslin has been set aside while I think about it.

Despite all the garments I've made this year so far, I'm totally going to have to buckle down to complete the last 4 Sewing Goals for 2014. I tried making a rub-off of one of my husband's shirts and came across some difficulty getting the muslin to fit just right. (we also got pissy at each other during the fitting process because he claims I snapped at him multiple times, and I just wanted him to stand still, which he was not doing. the difficulties of unselfish sewing...). In March I was so gung-ho regarding menswear, but it's been more difficult than I was hoping. I bet part of it is that I want whatever I make my husband to fit him absolutely perfectly because I want him to feel good in it not just because his wife made him something, but because his wife is a fucking master at sewing menswear. I might need to let my OCD/perfectionism take a seat and just sew the damn thing. If it fits, great! If not, well, I'll know what to fix for next time. I also promised my husband a badass vest (like one the guys wear in Justified). I have a Simplicity pattern, but I haven't even made a muslin yet.

I still need to do some tweaking to the Albion Toggle Coat pattern. I can probably put it off till after summer since I won't be needing a wool coat anytime soon. I mean shit, I didn't need a wool coat this past winter.

On the personal front (omigod, I'm getting personal here!), I finally met some sewing bloggers in real life at Christine Haynes' book party at Sew LA. I know this is still sewing related, but I'm including it in the personal section because it's proof that I stepped out of my comfort zone to meet new people. I was definitely nervous about how to start talking to people (*goodness I sound so ridiculous*), but I am very glad I went!

I also changed jobs in the spring. I felt like I was getting held back at my old job and was worried that I was getting "behind"....if that makes any sense. I also looked around my office and asked myself if I saw myself working there in 5 years and the answer was a resounding 'No', so I knew I had to make move. I'm still in the same field, still working in Downtown LA, but with a different company (actually, the one I started at when I entered the workforce, just a different office location). So far, so good! I also had so much vacation time saved at my last job, that I treated myself to a week and a half staycation. I sewed. I tried a new ramen joint. I worked out. I also went to Vegas for a couple days with the husband and bet $20 the LA Kings would win the Stanley Cup at 12/1 odds....which THEY DID! NOW I HAVE TO GO TO VEGAS AGAIN TO COLLECT MY SCRILLA!

Holy Shit, the LA Kings won another Stanley Cup!!!! Not sure if I've ever talked about it here, but I've been an insane LA Kings fan since I was a little kid (like since 6 or 7 years old). Never did I think they would win 1 Cup, let along 2 Cups in 3 years! It's crazy and ridiculous that I get so freaking emotional over a sports team, but I do. I admit it. I bawled like a baby when they won Cup #1 and I still cried (albeit a lot less) when they won Cup #2. I also seriously considered dropping over $600 PER TICKET for my husband and I to attend the Cup Clinching game, but then "Rational Kaoru" appeared and talked me out of it. So now I have money to buy fabric this summer :)

Also, in addition to the 4 projects left on my 2014 list, I recently found out I will be attending two weddings this summer and I was thinking, holy shit, I sew! I should make my dresses! I feel confident enough in my sewing skills to whip up two wedding-guest-appropriate dresses so I should do it. I just need to figure out what pattern(s) and what fabric......any suggestions???

Ok, back to sewing! Yay!


The Bubble Gum Belladone Vegas Dress

At the beginning of April I found myself between jobs by choice (I suppose I was technically unemployed.) I had over 4 weeks of outstanding vacation days at my old job so I decided that I could "afford" to sit around and do nothing for a week and a half before I started my new job. My husband and I entertained the idea of road tripping up the coast to the Bay Area and hitting up Hearst Castle and Carmel on the way, but the dates didn't really work out well with his schedule. And besides, I was secretly hoping to sew ALL WEEK LONG!!! The idea just sounded so heavenly!

So instead of an awesome road trip we decided to spend a couple days in Vegas, which still left me with about a week of free time to do as I pleased. I spent most of the days working out in the mornings, grabbing lunch at a new spot, and sewing. I primarily worked on the Deer and Doe Pavot Jacket, which took way longer than it should have only because I decided to finish the seams with handmade bias tape (gawd, that took forever!).

And then the day before we left for Vegas I decided that I should make myself a Vegas dress! Let me clarify for a sec. When I say "Vegas Dress" I'm not talking about a slutty dress, but rather something that I wouldn't normally wear everyday. I high-tailed it to Jo-ann Fabrics because I wanted something fairly inexpensive and I wasn't too concerned about making a high quality garment. I wanted something floaty, but instead settled on a pink bottomweight fabric. Then I found some gold metallic bias tape! GOLD! To me, nothing screams 'Vegas' more than GOLD!

I decided to use the Belladone Pattern from Deer and Doe, which is pretty conservative in the front, but the back is so wonderfully unexpected that I felt it was appropriate for the occasion. I made a muslin of the bodice since I knew the back would not fit on the first try. I tried to shorten the long edges since there was quite a bit of gaping, but I still don't think I have the pattern modified correctly. However, I was very short on time so I forged ahead. I stayed up so very late working on this dress and woke up early the next morning to finish it.

This dress looks like a total rush job up close, but I think it's passable from afar. The back neckline is totally messed up so I can't really wear this dress with the back neckline exposed. I didn't take any photos of the insides because that would pretty much be the equivalent of airing my dirty laundry. Trust me, the insides are not worth sharing....it's pretty embarrassing. I ran out of white serger thread midway through so only half of the seams are finished properly. I didn't have time to slipstitch the hem so I just machined stitched it; oh by the way, I completely forgot to buy thread that matches the fabric so I used a color that doesn't quite match the fabric, but I think it sorta coordinates. The top of the zipper is kind of a disaster. I really struggled with the best way to finish that part. Regardless, I had fun wearing this dress. And besides, I kept telling myself I would be in Vegas. There are a ton of people so messed up and poorly dressed that no one was going to notice the flaws with my dress. That was my sewing mantra as I powered through this dress: It's Vegas, no one will notice!

The instructions are pretty sparse, but I think the dress is easy enough that you don't really need that hand-holding. Just make sure you take the time to match up the back bodices pieces correctly. Double-check before you sew!

I definitely want to make the Belladone Dress again, but this time in a lighterweight fabric. Despite all the construction flaws I have actually worn this dress more times than any other dress I've made. In addition to wearing it in Vegas I also wore it for Easter brunch and to dinner to celebrate my 5th Wedding Anniversary! Hooray for marriage! I need to revisit my muslin first to make sure it fits properly in the back. Anyone have a good tutorial or hack job to get the back to fit better?