Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Last of Summer Sewing: Victory Patterns Simone Tank

Truly it is still hot here in North Texas. We got a cool front last week and it was gray, rainy and chilly. We were all ready for Fall. Then it got hot again. Right now I'm procrastinating going out for a run in the heat and humidity. I'm just not a morning person and can't get out there early like smart people do. I'm so ready for it to cool down again.

Well, it took me so long to get back to writing this post that it is now officially Fall and for once the weather here in Texas is doing what it is supposed to do.  It is simply beautiful and perfect out there.  All this is to say that yes, this Simone tank from Victory patterns was the last of my Summer sewing for this year.  I have a few other Summer pieces that were never photographed, but have moved on to transitional sewing, just having finished a lightweight Kimono and am working on a pair of linen pants.


This top started with the indigo shibori linen that my mom dyed and gifted to me when I said that I loved it. She is so generous, just like my Granny was. When we visited in July and mom and I dyed like mad women I did the solid indigo, overdying a large yardage of yellowish linen that was a major thrift store score. I still have several yards of that lovely blue to make something fabulous with.

Here is a detail of my top.  I sewed down the pleats to somewhat minimize the fullness.  I love the details in this pattern, it is excellently drafted in my opinion. The only adjustment that I made was taking it up at the shoulders, but that is a typical alteration for me. Isn't the fabric gorgeous?! I just love the bits of pink that remained from whatever color this linen started out.
 As you can see the top still has plenty of fullness and swing with the pleats put under submission.
simoneside simone3

I love the back of this top. The way it is fitted through the upper back and flares out at the bottom is super flattering.


I definitely intend to make the dress version of this pattern at some point in the future. I love all the opportunities for utilizing different fabrics. In this version I left off the piping around the front placket. I have heard some complaints that the instructions were not well written for this pattern. Honestly I didn't have a problem with them, and even really liked the way that the instructions have you attach the front placket to the main body of the top. However, I would consider myself an intermediate sewist and mostly put this together intuitively, not relying heavily on the instructions or illustrations. I love this pattern enough that I will definitely purchase and make more designs from Victory Patterns. I think they are wearable, modern, different and fun. Call me smitten.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

In love with Nettie

I have been a big fan of Closet Case Files since I discovered her blog last year. Heather's style is rocking and she is such an inspiration. I finally got around to making up her Nettie pattern and I'm in love! Nettie is designed to be a bodysuit or dress, but I made her into a top. I'm liking this fitted top and higher waisted skirt look on myself more than I ever have. I see many more Nettie's in my future. Oh the possibilities....


My mom gifted me this lovely organic cotton knit that she bought at Austin Fabric Co-op when we were there earlier this Summer. She decided there wasn't enough for what she wanted to make, it was only one yard. I squeezed this Nettie Tee out of that yard. It is such stretchy and luscious fabric that I knew I wanted to make something fitted out of it. Nettie was the perfect match.


I did the scoop neck and mid scoop back.  I used Heather's tutorial for adding to the insidescoop at the shoulder to prevent bra straps from showing with a scooped front and back. I neglected to take the top up at the shoulders which is a typical adjustment for me. Not taking it up meant the it is a little big at the shoulders and wanted to fall off of mine. I HAD to make it work so I added a tie to the back, to keep her from exposing my bra straps constantly. I think it works, and I'm so happy with this top.

Nettie Back Nettie Detail

I love this basic pattern, it is very well drafted and offers tons of options and plenty of possibilities for customizing and pattern hacking. I'm so glad I fell in love with Nettie! By the way, I made the skirt several years ago but I don't think I had ever worn it. The fit was too tight when I made it, but is great now and pairs perfectly with this top.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My little Hawkgirl

Our niece Karlie turned 5 and started kindergarten last month. We were lucky enough to be able to get down to Austin on her birthday. Here she is in the Hawkgirl costume that I made her, per her request.

Her favorite part of the costume was the mace. I also made her this little tunic that I drafted with pieced sleeves made from quilting cottons and knit.

Karlie is growing up so fast, and I imagine she will be changing in warp speed now that she is in elementary school. Here she is on her 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th birthdays. I feel so blessed to have this silly, smart and sweet little girl in my life!

Hawkgirl costume details: The costume is made from Poly-Lycra that I purchased at Joann. The Bustier (swimsuit) portion is McCall's 6729. I split it in half and seamed it at the waist. I used gold sparkle foldover elastic for the straps, and black foldover elastic for the waist.

The leggings are Simplicity 1332, and just happened to be one of the most recent patterns I picked up at a Joann sale.

I drew and cut the mask from foam sheets that I found at Joann, Frank's idea, and glued the layers together with a hot glue gun on low temp. The wrist bands are made from the same foam and laced with thin leather lacing. The mace is made from a styrofoam ball, a dowel for the handle and polymer clay for the spikes.  I made the spikes and stuck a nail in each one before baking.  Once baked I put hot glue on the bottom of each and stuck the nail into the styrofoam.

Not shown are the boot covers that I made from red vinyl.  They had pins in them because I needed to measure for size and she was scared that the pins would poke her.  They were made from McCalls 7001, intended for a wonder woman costume but I put hawk legs on them.

The wings were purchased at our local costume shop.  Karlie woke me up early the morning after her birthday telling me, "Aya, I have to show you something".  She was watching the cartoon that Hawkgirl is in and said "look, her wings don't have straps!".  Apparently Hawkgirl's wings are not attached to her body with elastic around the arms, didn't you know?!  I thought that was funny and cute.  But then again I think Karlie is funny and cute.  I hope she doesn't outgrow homemade gifts anytime soon, or like, ever!

I'm really pleased with how this costume came together, especially considering I didn't think I was going to make it in time for her birthday at all.  I ended up starting at the last minute and finished just in time.  Typical Ashley.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Belated Vacation Pictures

I went on vacation in mid July but haven hesitated posting anything because all I have to show for it are these Instagram pictures. Oh well, it was so relaxing AND productive that I have to share! We went to visit my family in the Texas Hill Country. Frank stayed for the weekend and then I stayed a few more days. Mom and I dyed a ton of fabric, which was one of my main goals. She taught me Ice dyeing, Indigo and I played around with painting with dyes a la Sallie Oh, with mixed results. I now have supplies to do this stuff at home, though I also have such a huge stash of fabric to sew through that I might not dye anything for a while.

The Ice Dyeing was my favorite. I love the unpredictability and the striking results! More ice dyeing. I love the way the dye breaks down. More ice dyeing with big chunks. I plan on draping myself in this beautiful silk but first I will drape my walls for inspiration. I'm totally in love with the process and outcome of ice dyeing! I need to keep notes next time of colors and processes but I dig the unpredictability of it. T

Some of my newly dyed fabric stash, Solids, Indigo Shibori and Linen with dye sprinkled randomly. Solid dyed linens on the left. Sprinkled dye on the linen on top, shibori indigo silk and ice dyed silk noile. I've got some sewing to do! #fabricdyeing #surfacedesign #craftnerd #addictedtofabric

The painted silks were fun to do, though my first attempt came out hideous! I didn't go in with a plan and just made a mess of it. I will overdye and rescue that ugly piece. These I love, but the bigger one faded a lot after they dried. I had watered down the dye and that was a bad idea. I will go back and add more color to make it more intense. Painted silk. The one on the left came out pale because I had diluted the dye I may go back and add more for deeper colors. Thanks for the inspiration @sallieoleta Ice dyed and indigoed silk and linen. I got so much done on my vacation! Had a dye intensive with my mom.

We swam several days in a row, and I even got a tan! This is Blue Hole in Wimberely and it was COLD. I also went to Barton Springs and swam in the San Marcos River. I don't get to swim often at home, and the swimming holes in the Hill Country are one of the main reasons that I want to move there. It is simply the only thing that makes sense when Texas heats up. Untitled   Untitled

We went to Fredricksburg for the flea Market and ice cream, then swung by Luckenbach for a beer on the way home.   It was such a wonderful vacation and I'm ready to go back. Work has been exhausting and though I had been sewing and working out and eating well, the last week of work threw a wrench in my plans and I have just fallen behind on everything. I'm off work today and am working on last minute birthday presents for Karlie, who turns five one week from today. She wanted a Hawk Girl Costume this year. I didn't think I would get it done but I'm having fun with it and it is coming together well. I have many unblogged sewing projects but do post frequently on Instagram these days.  Check me out if you want to see what I'm making.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Flutter Sleeve Knit Dress

I had this dress in my head for a long time and whipped it up in a flash last week. I used the bodice from Sew-U Home Stretch that I altered to fit me earlier this year for this dress.  I drafted the  flutter sleeves using Dixie Diy's tutorial over on Sew Caroline's blog.

Flutter Sleeve Dress
I have always been averse to gathered waist skirts and dresses, but recently realized that if the gathering is minimal and the waist is fitted it can be flattering. The skirt is just a rectangle, measurements taken from a recent successful project with a gathered waist. I gathered the skirt, then serged it to the bodice, I also added elastic to the waist so that it would be a little more fitted. The gathered ruffle is just double the width of the skirt, gathered and sewn on. I'm not usually a ruffle person either but I think it adds a cute bohemian vibe and I like the way the skirt swishes when I walk.

Flutter Sleeve Dress

I also used Dixie Diy's tutorial for binding the V-neck, thanks for being awesome Dixie! Mine isn't perfect, but the best one I've ever done. I should have listened to Dixie and zig zagged on my first try but I got brave and used the serger.

 Flutter Sleeve Dress

 The fabric is from Girl Charlee and is one of my favorites that I have purchased from there.  I had originally intended to make this a Maxi dress, and Frank was opposed.  I asked my facebook friends if most men dislike long skirts and I never realized they were so controversial.  No matter, when I held the long skirt up to me I realized it was much more flattering knee length on me.
Here is a detail of the V-Neck binding. You can see it got a little bunched up at the bottom, but overall I'm happy with it.
 Vneck binding detail

Fort Worth friends might recognize this wall as the side of Melt, our new Farm to Cone gourmet Ice Cream shop.  I talked Frank into taking pictures of my by bribing him with ice cream.  It is a rare treat for us these days, but isn't this a great backdrop for my dress?!

Friday, July 4, 2014

Simplicity 2443 aka A Perfect Summer Dress

Wow, it has been a while since I posted. I have been sewing a lot, I just hate taking pictures, so most of my finished projects don't make it to the blog. I just counted and I have sewn 19 items of clothing this year, only 6 have made an appearance here. I hope to change that soon, as I really do love sharing what I make. I do use Instagram daily, but use it mostly for pictures of my garden, our pets and our healthy meals. We did the Whole 30 challenge early in the year and it really did change our eating habits. Frank and I have both lost weight and are feeling healthy. I make it to the gym 2-3 times per week, but would love to be more consistent. Anyways, enough catching up, I have a dress to show you.

I've had this pattern for years, I believe it is out of print now. Simplicity 2443 designed by Cynthia Rowley. I have had the fabric to make this for at least a year. I finally cut it out and it came together really quickly.
Simplicity 2443 Simplicity 2443 Simplicity 2443

I left out the zipper and interfacing. I took the shoulders up by about 1" and took it in at the side seams by about 3" at the waist, tapering out to nothing under the arms. Those are typical adjustments for me. I should have shortened the back bodice, which is another typical adjustment. It dips down in the back but it doesn't bother me enough to redo it.

The curves on the bodice are a little finicky to sew. I used a zig zag stich there and went slowly. It is not perfect, but passable. I would make this dress again. I think it is a fun way to mix patterns, but would also look good in a solid. It is a perfect Summer dress! I didn't hem it because I thought it was going to be too short once I turned it up, but I may go back and do that because it seems longer than I thought in these pictures.

Frank took these for me at the Modern Art Museum the other day, by the way. I have to give him photo credit. One reason I hate taking pictures is that we don't have a good camera and just use the iphone. I need to invest in a camera.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Wardrobe Staple: Dixie Diy's Summer Concert Tee

I purchased the Dixie Diy Summer Concert Tee as part of Perfect Pattern Parcel #1. It is the only pattern that I have sewn from the group and has become a wardrobe staple. image-3

 I cut the XS size and shortened the back quite a bit. I like the high low look but it was a little too low in the back, I like to show a little booty after all lol. I am not however into midriff baring and I wear this with a camisole underneath.  I think it would work well with higher waisted garments like maxi skirts, shorts, etc but my jeans sit low on my hips and require extra coverage.  I also doubled over the arm bands to shorten the sleeves and give a more finished look, I really hate hemming knits!  I did a tiny hem on the bottom so as not to lose much length.  I think I only turned it up once and it does show a little after washing but isn't too noticeable.  Next time I would add a little length to the front pattern piece so that I could do a deeper hem.


These pictures aren't great but I thought this pattern was worth sharing. I really like the swingy quality of this top and I think it is quite flattering. I need to grab some more knit to make a couple more of these Summer staples. This fabric is from Joann.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Spring Sewing for Karlie

I have been so absent from my blog that I forgot how to log in today. That's pretty sad. I have been sewing though, and wanted to share the two latest things that I made for my niece Karlie.

This Knit tunic had been cut out since last Fall, but didn't get sewn up until last month. I cut the sleeves short so that she could wear it now. It is McCall's 6785, view B without the hood, in size 3. I had to use a contrasting neckband fabric, as the original piece that I had cut wasn't stretchy enough. The leggings were purchased. The kangaroo pocket got ripped off at the corners the first day she wore it and had to be repaired, so adding some interfacing under the edges might remedy that. This knit fabric was from Joann and I think they still have it on their clearance rack. It is a stable knit and super easy to sew with. I used my serger, but it could be just as easily sewn with a zig zag stitch on a regular machine. I'm really happy with how this came out and will use the pattern for her again. Spring Sewing for Karlie Hamming it up

We didn't get to visit my family for Easter but I finished this dress just in time to send it back with my mom when she visited. Mom gave me a bunch of cute fabrics for Karlie, all quilting cottons. I made this one with McCall's 6684 view C. I will also use this pattern again for her as it has other variations. This was another easy project that came out super cute. I just love sewing for her and I hope she doesn't outgrow liking what I make her.
 Karlie's Easter dress McCall's 6684

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Button Down Flannel

I finished this button down flannel just in time for one of our (hopefully) last cold days. I'm insanely proud of this thing. Plaid matching is hard! Mine isn't perfect but its pretty good for a first try. This top is cozy and warm and was perfect for our outing to the Amon Carter on Sunday. Flannel Button down

The wind was crazy and we were laughing because it was so cold. I told Frank he has to suffer for my craft too. Look at my bangs, they are airborne!

Flannel Button down

The flannel is from Joann, I snapped it up right away when I saw it. I think oranges, and especially red-orange and coral, are becoming some of my favorite colors to wear. The pattern is McCalls 6649, which I would never have picked from the photo, but I liked the design when I looked at the line drawings. The fit isn't perfect but it is close. I cut a size 12 and only took it in slightly under the arm holes. The darts in the front and back give it a little shape. I made view C without all the hideous patchwork stuff going on. The sleeves are a tad long but not terribly annoying. Flannel Button down

This is one of those tedious projects that I got tired of really fast. I'm so glad I persevered. I think I completed 3 knit projects in the process of this top. It definitely fits into my wardrobe well. I have been wearing button downs more lately and always have a shortage of long sleeve tops. I don't know if I would do this to myself again though. I'm liking quicker projects more and more. I guess it is good to switch back and forth between something more challenging and something quick and satisfying. I really am on a roll this year with completed garments that I actually wear. I hope I didn't just jinx myself.
 Flannel Button down
By the way, the Amon Carter was the perfect place to be on a cold day.  We went for the Art and Appetite exhibit but saw so much more.  There were exhibits of lithographs by June Wayne, relief prints by Posada and my favorite was striking photos from Subways by Kathy Sherman.  The Amon Carter is always free to the public and is much larger than I remembered.  I'm embarrassed to say that we hadn't been in years. We really have been missing out on wonderful things at our museums and have set about to remedy that this year. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Self Drafted Knit Dress

I was off work on Sunday and spent the day with my honey. It was snowy and cold but we bundled up and ventured to the Modern Art Museum to see the David Bates exhibit. I really enjoyed it. Bates is a Texas artist and his work is heavily influenced by the Gulf Coast. I found the show to be very approachable and the work is beautiful and intriguing. We have been trying to take better advantage of these wonderful museums just two miles from our home. There is a Samurai Armor exhibit that we hope to see soon at the Kimbell art museum.

I finally got pictures of my new favorite self-drafted knit dress.  I had seen the Lady Skater dresses, which I think are flattering on every body type. Using the Sew-U home stretch book I altered the bodice to fit my needs and drafted a half circle skirt. I squeezed this out of 1 1/2 yards of knit from Joann. I'm wearing it here with leggings because it was like twenty degrees and snowing here, even though it had been in the eighties the day before!
 Self Drafted knit dress Self Drafted knit dress

I'm so in love with this fabric. The color palette makes me very happy and it is so me. I think it will work year round too.

I'm totally in love with sewing knits. I've been working on a plaid flannel button down and hope to wear it before the cold is gone completely. It has been so tedious though and knit projects are the opposite, almost instant gratification. Plus knits are so easy to wear. You will be seeing more handmade knit garments from me.

Untitled In other news, I ran the Cowtown 10K again this year.  I ran with my co-worker Gail, which was fun.  It was easier this year but my time was slower, so I should have been running faster.  I really do love running and can't wait for another warm up and about four months of prime Texas weather before the heat of Summer forces me back indoors.  I may brave the forty degree weather today, I haven't decided yet.  I have also been doing workouts from Bender Fitness.  She is great!  Hundreds of free workout videos, mostly with no equipment required.   She is motivational and the workouts are challenging but doable.  I find my muscles sore in places that I've never noticed before.  We have gym memberships but I find it so hard to make myself go.  I would much rather run outside and then do a quick workout here.

Frank and I did the Whole 30 challenge in February.  It was a challenge for sure!  We both lost some weight and I mostly kicked my sugar habit.  I loved that it focused our choices, made us cook a lot, and had us eating tons of veggies.  I definitely recommend it for a kick start to a healthier diet! I found some great recipes on Pinterest for the challenge.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Ahhh Fall, I miss you!

Another Fall project that slipped through the cracks here, this top has been a well worn favorite. I made it before my birthday cause here I am wearing it at the Japanese gardens.
Japanese Gardens a birthday tradition

Then I found these pics on my camera. Fall Lookback Fall Lookback

Isn't she a cute top?! These pictures make me long for nicer weather and days like this. Untitled

I squeezed this bad girl out of maybe a yard and a half of Home Spun fabric from Joann that I bought on clearance. I matched the plaid at the side seams and cut the pocket on the bias and the yoke on the crossgrain. I also left out the wedge shaped pieced that were intended for the bottom of the side seams and seemed unnecessary to me. The pattern is Burda 7198. I shortened the sleeves due to fabric limitations and I added fish eye darts in the back for a more fitted look. I recently realized that I think I need a sway back adjustment. I always take some off the center back bodice at the waist in a fitted garment, and looser pieces like this tend to be baggy in the back. I had an issue with the fabric pulling at the button placket.  My mom helped me fix it at Christmas, and I'm not sure what she did besides adding interfacing.  The placket is sewing on top of the bodice and then you cut down the center with very small seam allowances.  This fabric was too ravel-y for that and I'm not sure the remedy.  I need to figure it out because I would love to make this again!

Karlie's baby doll blanket

I shared a little bit of this project but I don't think it got it's due here. My niece Karlie told me that she wanted me to make a blanket for her baby dolls for Christmas. I shared a little of my progress during the ice storm in December. It came together just in time for Christmas, and besides the skirt I made her, was my only truly handmade Christmas gift last year. I hand dyed tiny bits of yarn and it worked out just right. This whole blanket only took two balls of sock yarn and lots of patience.
The pattern is free and the link is on my Ravelry project page.

Untitled Untitled Blankie in action with new doll Alejandra.

 I just had to get her a new doll to go with the blanket. I got her the Alejandra doll from the My Generation Doll collection at Target. They are like a budget friendly American Girl Doll and are all really cute. I love that they come in different ethnicity's and there are tons of cute accessories and clothes that I can give her for future gifts.  I also made the little pillow from scraps of fabric that I have used for her in the past.