Monday, July 29, 2013

Fitness Goals -- Bridesmaid Series (Sort of)

This is kind of a dual purpose post. First, just want to explain the absence of any sewing projects here on what, on first glance, might appear to be a sewing blog. I have embarked on a new diet plan. Let's call it a lifestyle eating plan rather than a diet. Really, it was either that, or amass an entire new wardrobe, because the current one was apparently shrinking. Phase 1 is 21 days, and while that sounds like a formal plan... it's not really. Just how long I'm giving it to see if it works for me, and if it does, I'll certainly tell y'all how I did it. I'm about halfway through this experiment, and am cautiously optimistic.

That means that I just don't want to start a sewing project if my measurements will be changing. Seems logical.

The Bridesmaid part of this post.

Ah, "fitness goals". That's the phrase we use in our note when a 'maid wants to order a size smaller than recommended because she is going to lose some weight, work out more, etc. Sometimes those goals are met and the dress fits like a glove, and sometimes, well, you know the end of that story.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Avocado Project - Multiplying

The avocado project is continuing -- and multiplying! Before I get into what I mean by that... let's take a look at the unexciting stuff. That would be Austin.
Sadly, no visible progress. I'm not giving up on him though.

In the meantime, you may have noticed another seed in Austin's cup... that would be Austin2, and I just couldn't resist. I mean, when I recently cut into an avocado, I noticed the seed was already cracked.
Oooh, exciting!

But the real excitement is Buck. After almost 2 months, he's ready for planting... this will be the last time we see the root (and there is even about an inch of stem at the other end, just barely visible).
I'm planting this one in dirt today. Let's reminisce...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Avocado Project - A root appears

Just a quick post, because that's all I have time for, but there has been exciting progress! Buck's root is coming along nicely!
It's just slightly shorter (and whiter) than the toothpick supports. Once it reaches about 6" in length, I'll plant it in dirt, and we'll have to watch the progress from above.

Not much to look at on Austin yet... just a potential spot where the crack may begin to appear.
I'll update the collages in 2 weeks when I have more time.

Until then...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The Bridesmaid of the '80s -- Bridesmaid Series

Way back in April I wrote a post about bridesmaid dresses, and how they are, most often, just never worn again. As I am semi-between my own current sewing projects, I thought it might be fun to go back to the dark ages reminisce about the bridesmaid dresses that I wore.

Besides my own wedding, I was in 4 other weddings. My cousin's, a sorority sister's, my own sister's, and my best friend from high school. Let's start with my own wedding because each of these dear women were also in my wedding, and you can see what they wore.

Susan, Cindy, Roland, Beth and Carrie

The date: October 29, 1983 (yes, our 30th anniversary is coming up). The place: Southern Methodist University's Perkins Chapel in Dallas, TX. The lovely maids are wearing burgundy moire taffeta dirndl style skirts with a blouse made using Vogue 2805, an Oscar de la Renta designer pattern. I did wear my sister's dress to a wedding in Italy the next year. No word on if anybody else wore the outfit again.

Before I go any further, let me add that until very recently, I actually still had all of these dresses. And no, I am not a hoarder... just maybe sentimental. Or something.

Backing up a few years, I was first in my cousin Carrie's wedding in 1977 when we were really but babes.

The peasant style top has a Sakowitz label, but I seem to remember that these were also made by my mom (or someone). There is also a Liberty print short overskirt that buttoned in the front that I plan to refashion into something else. It's just as full, so there is plenty of fabric. For a long time I also still had the 3 ribbons that we tied around our waists, but those are either squirreled away, or just gone. I may have worn the top again, but I don't really think I did. This one outlasted the marriage. All that lovely blue eyelet will make an adorable dress for a future granddaughter, don't you think?

For my sorority sister, Beth's wedding, we were in peach polyester taffeta.
This dress was floor length, and has since been sold in a vintage section of one of my Etsy shops. But it has been hemmed. Why, you ask? (Beth, if you happen to read this... I know we looked lovely on the day, but, well, it was just perfect for something else, too. Apologies in advance.)

Little Bo Peep and her little lost sheep, now found. Yes, Halloween.

Cindy was married in 1985 (I think) in January, which explains the burgundy velvet.

It doesn't really dip that low in the neckline... the elastic that goes over the shoulders, strap-like to hold up those great, puffy sleeves, is just shot. I wore this to a performance of the Nutcracker Suite in the late 80s, and I think that was it. I do still have it, thinking I might make some kind of holiday pencil skirt. May be time to just let this one go.

Finally, my sister, Susan's wedding. May, 1987. Again in Dallas, this time at Highland Park Presbyterian Church. Laura Ashley was very popular then, and that's what we wore. And I was 6 months pregnant. Can you tell?

I refused to let the photographer get a side shot of me. This time, I bought the dress 2-3 sizes too big, and had a friend help me make it a bit more pregnancy friendly around the middle. I never wore this dress again, and it was also sold from my Etsy shop.

Hope you enjoyed this little trip down memory lane! That was definitely the 80s for you... big sleeves, full skirts, bows, and that unflattering "tea" length.

Until the next bridesmaid/wedding post...

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Tiramisu #2, the Amex Dress

I've finished my 2nd Tiramisu knit dress, and I'm calling it the Amex dress, not because it was super expensive, but because the fabric reminds me of the green American Express card, and I won't want to leave home without it.

But when it was initially finished, it should have stayed home. It didn't, and when I wore it the first time, I was actually pretty mortified that it looked as horrible as it did.

Exhibit A, Tiramisu 2.0:
It doesn't look that bad on the dress form, although you can see the incredibly drooping hem at center front (and yes, it does that at the center back as well). You also can't see well that I added an approximately 1-1/2" band at the hem because I wanted it a little longer, and that from the midriff on down, it hung like a sack.

The bodice is a smidge short, but I can live with that. The midriff was too short (something I did on purpose and totally regret) which drove me crazy in wearing. So... how to fix these issues when I only had a small pile of scraps left over.

Introducing the Tiramisu 2.1:
I happened to have scraps of a Michael Miller interlock knit from the same colorway used in another project. Let's go to the bullet points:

  • I'm living with the too short bodice. Will print out the revised bodice pieces for my next version.
  • Cut off the skirt at the seamline between skirt and bottom of midriff.
  • Added a 2-1/2" wide strip of the "new" fabric to create a belt-like look to the bottom of the midriff. Used a 1/2" seam here.
  • Took in the side seams beginning at the midriff. A bunch. Didn't take photos, but angled down from the midriff-bodice seamline toward the waist approximately 2". That adds up to 4" per side! Maybe a little more.
  • Trying to preserve the pockets, I took extra width out of the center front and center back of the skirt, using a 2-1/2" seam allowance per seam.
  • Reattached the skirt.
  • The pockets looked terrible with the new, more snug fit. Sewed them shut, serged off the pocket bits.
  • Put the dress on the dress form, measured up from the floor to get an even hem, and used my coverstitch to hem.
End result: it's not perfect, as I would have preferred a solid color, and a bit more length both to the bodice and overall, but it is now a dress I will definitely wear. My previous experience with this fabric is that it will continue to shrink, so it probably has a limited shelf life as it is anyway, so I'll just enjoy it while I can.

With a belt:


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