Monday, February 25, 2013


(In my head I'm singing BIRTH.DAY.DRESS to the same tune of Jeremiah's song "Birthday Sex" - random fact I thought you might find interesting.)

I literally finished my birthday dress 30 minutes before dinner reservations at Tapas Barcelona last night. That doesn't mean that the reservation was kept :), but I've never worked on a dress until the very last minute like I did on Saturday.

This dress was a labor of love, and it all began with this pattern:
I have to admit, I was pretty nervous about the outcome because of the reviews I read on I always do that though. I'm never confident enough in my skillset, and usually put off patterns I think are going to be time consuming, or difficult, or... whatever. Not this time though. My BIRTH.DAY.DRESS was going to be special.

The idea was that I was going to make sure to use mixed materials to get the most interest out of the design elements in this dress. I was drawn to the beautiful lines that the piping created, drawn to the full skirt (though it's not my normal silhouette), drawn to the possibilities that this dress presented.

I had three fabrics that I wanted to use. A beautiful grey, black and royal blue rayon blend from JoAnne's, a textured sheer, and a beautiful black woven material that has a subtle sheen. Now when I bought the rayon, I had no idea what I was going to use it for, but it really jumped out at me.
The other two fabrics were in my stash. Having a stash comes in so handy at times.

I knew that because this dress was special, I wanted to use special techniques on it. Because the shoulder areas were sheer, I finished the seams with a french hem.
This picture makes me dizzy... :(
I hand basted many of the layers together including the areas that needed piping. 

Did I mention I chose to make my own bias vs. my usual easy way of purchasing binding? 
I promise I know how to measure in a straight line!
The outcome is a dress that I'm going to treasure for years to come. It was so fun and flirty, and I can see how easily I can pair it with a cardi for work, or a blazer, OR with a fun clutch and a fab pair of shoes for a night out (which is exactly what I did)!

Shoes: Nine West
Clutch: Claire's Boutique on super sidewalk sale
Earrings: old, old, old. 

At dinner we were so late for our original reservations (due to my last minute sewing and pressing) they cancelled our reservation. We would have had to wait in a popular packed restaurant for an open table. So we left. We ended up at a random little spot that had no wait, and was BYOB. We popped our champagne and enjoyed our delicious meal, including the amazing mussels. 


We ended up having a great time with friends who came to celebrate with me. I felt amazing the whole night. The hubs even wore a complementary outfit! 

Me and the hubby (who was looking grown and sexy. I LOVE this man!)

I really had an amazing birthday. I'm glad I took the time out to make something for myself that made me feel like a million dollars. 

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Sewing so far.

I'm still way off course with my winter essential challenge. Truth be told, I said screw that challenge! I'm going to let the fabric inspire me! :) And so far this year, I've actually made some pretty great pieces.

Gold lame peplum with exposed back zip; mixed material dress with drop shoulder; emerald green wool pencil skirt with kick pleat; plaid pencil skirt; purple people eater pant.

I love each and every piece. I'm going to admit, I do have a favorite. (You should never say that.) It's the green. I'm biased. It's the color of 2013.  And the fabric is soooo lux. My friend and I had a fabric swap and this was one of my scores. It's a beautiful nubby wool. And the photo doesn't do the color justice. It's such a rich, beautiful, emerald. 
Though I love each piece (un)equally, I notice there is something lacking. Practical, wearable tops. I do realize I have a gold peplum blouse appropriate for a discotheque (love that word - really wish is was used in the US, instead of "club"). But really, is that wearable? In most cases I would say no. But there is a time and place for everything... (I truly believe that you should occasionally wear something inappropriately fabulous on a random Tuesday. I'm talking full blown sequins, or a ball gown.)

I guess my point is, I can't wear that top on a regular day. I need a couple of Monday - Friday tops. Blouses, tunics, tops or something/anything that covers the upper half of my body. 

I have several projects planned, but planned projects don't  always work well for me.   
Maybe I'll finally finish this top which I started and never finished. 

[must remember to iron garments prior to photoing. Also should start using my real camera vs. camera phone, but its soooo easy to upload with my phone] 

It really would look great with several of the skirts that I recently started/finished.

Or maybe I'll work on this top, this top, or this top.
I never can decide.  

Friday, February 8, 2013


This is the route my "love my winter wardrobe" project has gone. 
If you want to be literal about the whole thing, I haven't exactly made the garments that I planned on making, but I have been sewing! I do believe I reserved the right to change my mind. :)

I think I mentioned in my last post finishing the gold peplum shirt and a dress. Since then, I've also made a fun pair of slim leg purple flowered pants. That I LOVE. I've worn them twice already. They have added both color, and fun into my drab winter wardrobe. In this picture, they look like someone's grandmother's pants (saggy butt and all), but they actually fit me really well. 

I'm also working on this dress: 

I found a beautiful grey, black and royal blue patterned fabric at the local JoAnne Fabrics, and have paired it with a sheer black (upper bodice, shoulders and godets - not to worry, the entire dress is lined), and solid black piping. 

I've been reading Couture Sewing Techniques which has really made me think twice about the way I construct my garments. I'm usually so impatient and want my pretty new things NOW. I'm trying to shift my mindset to think about constructing quality, lasting garments with techniques that will improve the fit and durability, rather than something cute that will fall apart in just a few wears. I can't wait to finish the dress so I can detail my process on here! I've used hand basting, french seams, french hybrid binding, reinforced seams, the works! 

AND, even though I'm trying to shift my mindset, it's still easy enough to whip up a lined or unlined pencil skirt. and that's what I plan on doing to keep that little thing inside me that screams INSTANT GRATIFICATION, pacified. :)