Thursday, January 7, 2016

Happy New Year!

I am late to the party, nothing new there. We had a good holiday, how about you? I took off three extra days in the weeks leading up to Christmas in order to preserve my sanity and it worked. We visited my family in Austin, then hosted four of our best friends for New Years.

Here are myself, my niece Karlie and mom all wearing tops that I made on Christmas day. Theirs were Christmas gifts. We look alike, don't we?! Untitled
For mom I used a gorgeous crossweave linen from Joann and the Fisherman's top patterns from Merchant and Mills Sewing Book. Karlie's tunic is made with the juvenile apparel knit from Joann and I'm so in love with it! I used Simplicity 1785, which I had sewn for her before.

And her model pose.    Untitled Untitled I asked Frank for this ring made by our friend Claire for my Christmas gift. I adore it! It fits perfectly with my wardrobe and my everyday jewelry. I never wear rings but this one is perfect.

I also felt inspired to make some new jewelry designs. My friend Matt asked me to make his wife some small-ish earrings. Inspired by Claire's work, I finally got my hands on some brass to play with and am happy with what I cam up with. I think I need to make both of these for myself now!
Untitled

Here are my top nine instagram pics from last year. Pretty much sums it up, lots of sewing, a little travel, including our trip to Tulum that I still need to share, and some adventures in the kitchen.
ashleyakers

There hasn't been any New Year Resolution stuff going on over here just yet. I have plans but got sick and have no groceries, so no gym or healthy eating plan for us at the moment. I promised myself to get back to the gym asap. We are in the midst of refinancing our home and planning to do some work around here, so that will consume most of our Spring. I also promised myself to not buy any new fabrics, but instead work my way through my stash this year. I may break this rule for things I really need but don't have fabric for, like winter wear and possible jeans sewing. We shall see. Mostly I won't be too hard on myself or too rigid. I'm in a good and happy place and hope to stay here.

 I hope you too are having a wonderful new year filled with whatever it is that makes you smile.
 xoxo Ashley

Friday, December 11, 2015

Simplicity 1377 in Cotton Ikat

I made this skirt sometime last year but never blogged it. It is made with a gorgeous cotton Ikat from Joann (of all places) that I wish I had bought more of. The pattern is Simplicity 1377. I have actually made the shorts and pants form this pattern as well. Neither worked for me, but both times it was my fault. The shorts were too short and too small so I gave them to a friend. I need to make myself another version though, as they were super cute on her! With the pants I narrowed the legs too much and when I sat down it would stress the seams. Those went to the donation box. This skirt is the clear winner of the three. It is a simple and quick pattern and I think it works well with this fabric. I eliminated the back pleats in order to eek out the pattern from my small yardage, but I think I like it with the minimal volume. I'm not big on volume at the waistline. I will use this pattern again and I highly recommend it. It is versatile and great for a beginner, aka a super quick make.

I think this is truly more of a summer skirt, but I was trying to be creative and layer my clothes to utilize more of my handmade wardrobe. I'm not sure I'm crazy about the way I styled the skirt here as it kind of looks like I'm wearing a unitard under it, while it was actually tights and a tank top. This photo shoot was fun because we were at the Fort Worth Botanic Gardens to test out our action camera for our vacation (this post is long overdue and I am still playing catch up).  I love this little cactus garden and had fun with these pictures. Frank is really nice to be my personal photographer!

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Vogue 8379 Knit Wrap Dress

Here I am playing catch up on all things Fall, and Fall, my favorite season, is slipping through my fingers. We planned and saved and I sewed and sewed for our trip to Tulum. It was amazing by the way, and I will be belatedly sharing some things about the trip eventually. Let's just call me perpetually behind.

This dress is actually seasonally appropriate right now, but I made it late last Spring, too late to wear. It is made from this gorgeous, warm and squishy French Terry knit that I scored at one of the outlets on Harry Hines in Dallas last year for a song. I sewed it up into Vogue 8379. Vogue 8379 Vogue 8379 Vogue 8379 Vogue 8379

I slightly changed the construction to suit the knit fabric better. If I'm remembering correctly my only change was to eliminate facings in favor of bands, more in line with how I know to sew knits. It isn't my be all, end all of knit wrap dress patterns, but I do love it. I think it is the pleats at the waist that bring it down a notch or two for me. I like a wrap dress that is fitted at the waist and this one just adds extra bulk there, which isn't slimming. I notice know that It does show every bump, perhaps I need a slip underneath? I would recommend this pattern if you like the pleating detail at the waist. It is easy to put together and I love the slightly circular skirt. I think it is pretty flattering over all.

Monday, October 19, 2015

I Joined Kollabora

I joined Kollabora and have started uploading a few of my finished projects. I am on Pattern Review but always hated the way that website functions (or doesn't function). Kollabora is much more user friendly and modern.

I can see here that my wardrobe is evolving to be quite cohesive, well at least these three outfits. I definitely have an affinity for blue and white and black and white. kollabora screen shot
The clean and modern look of my project gallery just makes me so happy! I think I need to create a gallery page of finished projects here on my blog as well. Are you on Kollabora? How do you like it?

Friday, October 9, 2015

Feeling Clever in my Alice Top

I purchased a piece of Anna Maria Horner's Loominous in Austin when we were there for Karlie's birthday. They only had one yard left so I wanted to use it for the yoke of this Tessuti Alice top. I had this gorgeous crossweave linen rayon in my stash but the combo just wasn't doing it for me. I happened upon some black and white ikat cotton napkins at World Market and inspiration struck. I used two napkins for the yokes of this pattern. It may not be any cheaper than buying yardage, but I felt pretty clever. The black and white ikat was the perfect pair with this luscious teal linen blend. You can't really tell in pictures but the linen is almost iridecent. Thanks to the rayon content and cross weave, it shimmers and changes color in the light. The Loominous is destined for another pattern, but it got me to this happy place.

Meet Alice, isn't she great?!
 Tessuti Alice TopTessuti Alice Top Tessuti Alice Top Tessuti Alice Top Tessuti Alice Top

I made the XS and eliminated two whole inches from both the center front and center back. Even with that amount removed this top is still very roomy. I think next time I would cut an XXS, so just beware. This top is quite long as well, I probably chopped off about four inches from the hemline. Alice hangs a little low in the armholes for my taste, but not enough to stop me from enjoying wearing her. I always need to take tops and bodices up at the shoulders and I did not adjust for that here. Overall I am thrilled with this pattern and will definitely make it again. I think it is a great way to highlight a special piece of fabric in the yoke. Needless to say I am pretty pleased with myself. It feels good to be on a sewing roll and to have an ever growing handmade wardrobe!

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Yes I Did (Matching Shirts for Karlie and I)

No shame in my game, though I doubt we will ever wear these at the same time in the same place. I had my eye on this fox knit from Girl Charlee for ages. When I finally purchased it I bought enough to make myself a dress but then decided on matching tops for Karlie and I. I took these both down with me on our family Vacation this summer to the Frio, but this little toot was not up for modeling with me. Mom took this picture for me last weekend so I figured it was time to photograph my shirt as well.

Karlie's fox shirt

Karlie's shirt is a simple self drafted kimono sleeve top with a ruffle added, basically a square with a hole cut in it for the neck. I think I am going to try to make myself a version of this soon in a black rayon challis.

My version is a modified Dixie Diy Summer Concert Tee, my third version of that pattern. I love this version but haven't gotten much wear out of it because it requires a pair of high waisted pants or shorts. I actually made a pair of high waisted denim shorts for just this purpose but the pattern still needs some tweaks and I didn't find them too wearable.  I really do like the fit of this top and plan to make another version with a tiny bit of length added to the front. This knit is not very stretchy at all, so I'm thinking that this pattern would work in a woven as well.

Dixie Diy Fox shirt

Dixie Diy Fox shirt

Dixie Diy Fox shirt

Here is a terrible picture to illustrate my alterations. I shortened the back pattern piece, but left the front as drafted (wish I would have added a couple of inches there). I then cut off a portion of the back piece at about waist level and slashed and spread that bottom piece to make it about double the original width. The piece was gathered, sewn to the top half and then I proceeded as normal. I also left the arm bands off of this version. Here is my first version of this top. I love basic patterns like this that can be changed and manipulated for multiple variations. Though I love sewing dresses, I most often find myself reaching for jeans and a cute top to throw on. I can never have too many cute tops.

Dixie Diy Fox shirt alteration

Mom also texted me these pictures that K drew in her sketchbook. They are costumes that she has designed for me to make her for her birthdays. I think the numbers correspond the the age. We also did this when she was here and we were designing Fashion Cat and I think it is so much fun to see how her creative mind works. Apparently those are feathers that go behind the neck.

Untitled Untitled Untitled

Two blog posts in one week? I can't believe it. I have a couple more finished projects to share but have moved on to my swimsuit sewing frenzy. We have about six weeks or less till our vacation so I'm trying to get that show on the road. I really don't have any suits that I'm crazy about or that fit well, so I'm counting on myself to come through on that project. So far, so good, but I'm just in the muslining stage right now. There were a few other pieces that I wanted to sew for our trip but first things first when you are going on a beach vacation.

Monday, September 28, 2015

More Vacation Sewing McCalls 6952

I found this watercolor rayon challis at Joann and bought a yard and a half. Then I wish I had bought more. I love the colors, but wondered if it was going to look too Granny-ish as a dress. Luckily I had the perfect solution, some solid black rayon challis in my stash to eliminate the all over floral effect, and supplement the fact that I hadn't purchased enough fabric. I used McCalls 6952 and am super happy with the outcome.

  dress2dress3

This is another one of those patterns that I never would have picked based on the cover art. It wasn't until I saw Lladybird's version that I wanted to get my hands on this pattern. You really do have to look past the cover and take a look at the line drawings to get an idea of what you could create with a pattern, especially from the big four.

I made View B in a size 10 and I eliminated the lower ruffle. There was just something off about the proportions on me. I think because I am so short waisted it just looked funny with the ruffle being so low.  I raised the shoulders, an easy alteration that I always have to make.

I really like the princess seams, though they don't show much in black and floral here. I like that they give the dress some shape even though it has an elastic waist. I did my favorite new seam finish throughout, French seams made by serging wrong sides together, then turning and sewing.

  dressback2dressfront4 dress

 I wore this dress for mine and Frank's Sixteenth anniversary of our first date. It is easy and comfy to wear and will be a perfect Summer or beach vacation dress. I will use this pattern again because I like View A with the back cutout. I highly recommend this pattern.

I have to thank Juebejue over at Petite Republic for the heads up on these awesome shoes. I complimented hers and she generously told me the brand. I hunted some down on Amazon and am loving them.