Saturday, October 19, 2013

Um... Hi

Well, Hello.

I feel happy and extremely guilty writing this post. I haven't looked at the blog or sewed in over two months. Part of this is because I was away for most of the time and didn't have a sewing machine but I'll be completely honest here and say - I haven't even WANTED to sew. Is that horrible?

Anyway, I'm back. I can't promise I'll be posting much, I started school a week ago (here in Israel we start school REALLY late because we have a military service between high school and college) and since I'm studying physics, I'm not sure I'll have much time for a life in general. I go to school in Jerusalem, which means I live in a small apartment and don't have my sewing machine with me. I'll only be sewing on weekends, if ever, between studying and whatever other student-ey things I'll be doing. I've decided I'm going to ease slowly back into the sewing world, starting with getting up to date with my sewing blogs and maybe get inspired a bit.

This time away from sewing has got me thinking. How could I love something so much for one minute and then feel totally apathetic towards it for another? Is this because sewing is "passionate" for me that sometimes the passion just runs out? Do I need to go to a couples shrink?

What have you been lately? Any tips on how to get back in the game?

Thank you all for you support and AMAZING comments!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Sewing Block

Hi Everyone,

As told you in my last post, I've been having a rough time with sewing lately. This is the main reason I haven't been posting lately. It's not that I don't have anything to post, to be honest, I have a few project photographed and ready to go. It's the fact that I feel completely uninspired. I want my posts to be interesting and usfull for you guys and not just showcase my garment photos, which is why I've been stalling posting anything. I tried putting together a post the other day, and I couldn't bring myself to write more than a few sentences about the garment I made. I could have posted that, just to calm my guilty feelings about my lack of posting, but I really feel like this would have been a disservice to this blog and to you readers. Why would you want to read something I didn't even want to write?

I decided to take the week off, try sewing again over the weekend and get over myself. Well, that didn't go very well. I've been sewing the same dress for the last three weekends and always find a reason to stop sewing it. The main thing was that it came out too short (because of miscalculating the length of the half circle skirt on my part) and I couldn't decide how to fix it, as I didn't have any fabric left.
I ended up adding a half circle skirt of out black tulle chiffon that's about 5 inches longer than my skirt.

I hate it.

The sewing is pretty bad, the color combination isn't my favorite, the hem came out kind of crooked (god knows how) and it just looks plain silly.

This is a terrible picture of the dress, but as I decided to write this post on a whim I had to take this picture in the dark. The real color of the dress is kelly green and it has  button up placket up the front of the bodice, which I have yet to attach buttons to out of frustration. I was going to add black fabric covered buttons to match the bottom skirt, but now I don't know if I can even look at this dress.

(The only part of this picture I'm proud of is the painting in the back which I made a few years ago)

I wasn't going top post anything, since frankly, I feel like shit. But then I thought, you sew. I'm sure we all feel uninspired sometimes, right? Why should I feel like this is something only I go through? I know this sounds dramatic, but sewing really is my creative outlet and it feels so weird to not want to do it.

I've been thinking of ways to deal with the situation, I thought that maybe sewing something simple to ease myself back in would do the trick, what do you think? I just really can't handle another failed dress right now.
I've been eying lingerie for a while now (evidence here) and I'm thinking maybe making some panties will be my salvation?

I'm sure I'm not the only one going through this, any friendly advice?

Also, do you guys know of any online stores that sell lingerie notions and ship to Europe or Asia (Israel hehe) for a reasonable price?

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Tiny Thing

A friend of mine from work had a baby recently (a week ago!) and I got the sudden urge to make the little baby girl something. It seemed a little silly at first, but let me tell you, once you start, it's so addicting! All the pattern pieces are so tiny and cute and the end result was too adorable for words!

Baby Dress Sewn

I literally used fabric scraps to make this. I had between half a yard and quarter yard left over from my double collar blouse. The pattern pieces were so small I managed to make a diaper cover to go with the dress.
I used Sew Jereli's free baby dress sewing pattern, it was really easy to make, the instructions were clear and easy to follow, I definitely recommend this as an easy baby shower gift. I know it's much too large for newborn but I figured that it's best to make something she can grow into.. right?
Of course I added red bow to the front, I thought it needed a pop of color! 

I promise the hem of the skirt isn't lopsided!

The top part of the bodice is lined with a piece of white cotton I found in my stash. I like the fact that it's lined, it's much sturdier this way and looks more professional (since this is a gift I don't want it to look flimsy!).

There is a button placket in the back. It's supposed to go down past the waist but I decided to cut the back skirt as one piece and close the placket at the waist. I wanted to use bright red buttons to match the bow in the front but they had a shank and I thought it would bother the baby's back. I resorted to using these mellow flat red buttons, oh well!

I made the diaper cover using Made's Perfect Diaper Cover pattern. These pattern pieces are miniscule as well. I just cannot get over how tiny babies are. It took me like half an hour to make the cover and by the time I was done I wanted to make ten more.

Anyway, now I'm kind of hoping other people will get pregnant around me so I can make more baby clothes. They are so ADORABLE!

Ok, everybody get your sad faces on because it's Confession Time:

1) Lack of blogging - I haven't been blogging as much lately. I've reached somewhat of a sewing block, which I have yet to overcome. At first I didn't even want to admit it to myself, not to mention you guys, but I just can't hold it in anymore. I SPENT A WHOLE WEEKEND AT HOME WITHOUT SEWING A SINGLE STITCH. I felt terribly guilty for it but I then realized that we're all allowed a break from time to time, right? This feels like the first step to recovery, hopefully I'll be up and running by next weekend!

2) MeMadeMay - I HATED THE LAST TWO WEEKS OF IT. I had trouble with my camera and then with my laptop and everything seemed to be going wrong. I have a few more pictures to show you but I'm not even sure I'm going to upload them. What do you think?
Trust me though, I held up my end of the bargain of wearing me made items I was just terrible at photographing them.

Have you ever made baby clothes?
what did you think of MeMadeMay?
Have you ever gone into a sewing desert and had trouble finding your way out of it?

Have a great weekend!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bias Dress

Hi everyone! (Sorry for hitting publish too early! I don't even know how it happened!)

Ok so I know I promised MeMadeMay pictures. but I'm having SO much trouble with my camera. I promise I'll have it by the end of this week!! REALLY!!

Anyway, I hope a sewn garment will be enough of a compensation!

This dress was copied inspired by a dress worn by Sarai in her discussion of the deterioration of garment making in the past decades.

Not only did the dress inspire me in itself, but Sarai opened my eyes when she pointed out that there is no such thing as mid range clothing anymore. Everything is made the quickest and the cheapest way possible. This is one of the reasons I love sewing, I actually know how well the garment is sewed (even though I can't say I'm always proud of my sewing, either. At least it's my fault though!) and I can make the extra effort of putting more details and better finishings to make my garment better than store bought.

Some of the garment I make are quick and easy project that are meant to fill a hole in my wardrobe or a sudden urge to do a quick project. Then there are the ones that I think about a little more, it can be a generic detail like inserting a lining or more advanced technique like applying bound buttonholes (which I have yet to master to my satisfaction) that add a little personal touch (that I have come to accept that only sewers can appreciate) that really make my garments special to me.

Bias garments are rarely found in stores these days because they use up much more fabric than sewing on the grain. (I don't even want to talk about stripe matching, which I have done i the skirt, that is rarely done in RTW clothing. It makes me want to puke). When I saw Sarai's dress I knew I HAD to recreate the bias effect on the top and contrast it with a "on the grain" skirt. I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, the plaid is much more prominent in real life.

Not only is the effect with the plaid cool, but cutting fabric on the bias changes it's properties completely. Even fabrics that have no stretch to them on both the cross grain and the straight grain will stretch on the bias (you can easily try this out yourself by trying to stretch any old cotton on the bias). This is why bias strips (strips that are cut on the bias hehe) are used to finish curves - they can stretch to accommodate the shape of the opening. For this reason, cutting fabric on the bias is considered more flattering (and is done not only with prints that show off the effect), the fabric takes the shape of the body and contours it, if you will.

Ha! Finally a clear picture!
I did a lot of research before drafting the top of the dress because I have never sewed with fabric on the bias before. All sites recommended to start with non flimsy fabrics (stay away from silk charmuese and all it's man made an non man made equivalents) and to cut the pattern on one layer of fabric. I opted to remove the darts (this was a gamble as I didn't see this actually written anywhere) because I thought the bias fabric will provide enough elasticity. I removed the darts in the most vulgar way possible and hacked off an inch of the waist in the back and two inched in front. (I can upload photos of the process if you like though I don't pretend to be an expert and my methods would probably be frowned upon by anyone who knows anything).

The bottom of the skirt is made out of a pencil skirt block I made for myself.

Can you believe the bias just molded itself to the contours of the bodice? I mean, it's doesn't even look like it doesn't have darts! I'm definitely inspired by this to explore the world of bias cut garments, it's like it's a whole different fabric! Are you guys as surprised as I am??

I love the color scheme of the plaid, it has all these deep browns that, frankly, kind of remind of old lady clothes but I LOVE it!  As you can see, I wore this dress with a gold necklace and blue shoes and I think it made it slightly younger (though I fully accept the fact that I dress like an old lady). At first I thought about applying light pink piping to the waist seam to give it a (although muted) pop of color. After consulting my mom (and displaying my dilemma on my new dress form!) it was decided that I leave the dress neutral. Here I took a different route the styling and opted to go all the way with the old lady vibe and wore a brooch with the dress:

The dress closes (and opens teehee) with an invisible side zipper. In full disclosure the zipper kind of distorts the bias cut fabric (I imagine the stiff zipper and the flowy stretchy fabric clash) but I really couldn't think of a way to avoid this. Maybe inserting the zipper in a back seam would have been better as it is a less curvy area... Does anyone know how to deal with this?

I finished the neckline and armhole seams with store bought bias tape (which I see I haven't pressed properly. MY IRON SUCKS) and hemmed the skirt by simply folding it twice over and top stitching the hem. I know a lot of people tend to do blind hems or whatever to conceal their stitching but to be honest I fund that it isn't worth the trouble for me, I don't mind the stitching at all!

In conclusion, I am fascinated by biased cut garments an certainly plan to make more of these in the future! If you guys are interested in seeing how I altered the pattern I'd be happy to show you!

Have you ever made a bias cut garment? Do you like plaid as much as I do? How do you feel about old ladies?

Have an excellent week!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Birthday Dress

Why Hello everyone!
I'm haing such a weird few days. I got really badly sunburned on Friday and I feel like shit, or more like friend chicken, if you will. I've never bee burned this badly (and I did put on spf!) I'm even having trouble sleeping because leaning on my back or having any part of my body touch  another part of it is like being hugged by lava. Which meant I had to sleep like this:

Only I definitly wasn't as cute.

Anyway, thought I'd share with you a garment that I'm incredibly proud of even though I really don't think it's my greatest achievement or even a very good fit. Incidentally, it's the same color of my skin at the moment.


I've been craving to sew with lace for a while now and I love underlining (that's weird, right?) and so I thought this is the perfect project for me. I had made a lace shirt (I will show it to you guys soon!) before so I knew in wasn't very difficult to sew with lace. The thing is, I didn't take a few crucial points points into account and that made the process of making this dress quite long.
For one, I wanted to buy cheap lace (in retrospect, I have no idea why I was being so stingy, I guess I was afraid I would mess this up and didn't want to ruin perfectly good lace) and the only lace I could find was stretch lace. I didn't want this dress to be a stretchy dress though so I decided to underline it with regular poly satin. BIG MISTAKE ( I really don't know what I was thinking!).

I ended up having to hand baste all the pieces together rather than machine baste them, because the lace kept stretching out and by the time I finished the row of stitching I'd be stuck with tons of lace and no satin. This added like two hours of work, especially the half circle skirt which was SO much work.

I drafted the dress myself, as usual. There really isn't anything interesting about the pattern, there are side darts (dior darts?) and bust darts and the skirt is a half circle skirt. I underlined the whole dress and lined the bodice with the same poly satin fabric. I don't line many of my garments and I have to say - I'm sold! It just upgrades the whole garment! It does take longer to sew, but if you consider that making facings or finishing the openings with bias tape takes time as well, it may be worth it!

What do you guys think about lining your garments?

The skirt isn't as twirly as I'd like, I wanted to make a full circle skirt but I somehow miscalculated the amount of fabric I needed to buy and only had enough for a half circle skirt.

My original inspiration for the dress was this number worn by Michelle Williams. Can you blame me?

Then I saw Lauren's dress:

How could I now want to make a lace dress after that??

I made a satin belt from the same fabric as the underlining, using this tutorial (again inspired by Lauren) but I ended up not wearing it to my party because it kept slipping and sliding. So this is what I ended up looking like:

I kind of like it this way too! Though I definitely look less like a present. I wore it with a leather jacket part of time because it was kind of chilly out, I like the way the girlyness of the dress clashed with the masculinity of the jacket.

The fit isn't perfect, I don't know if you can tell but the neckline is definitly gaping and the straps are too large. I noticed these fitting issues only after I constructed the whole bodice and lined it, which made it basically impossible to make any changed without killing myself
 Anyway that's it!
FYI I know I was supposed to upload my MeMadeMay week but I lost my camera cable so I'll only be able to upload it won Tuesday.

What do you think? Do you guys line your garments? Have you ever sewed with lace?

Happy Sunday!

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Me Made May: Week 1

Hey everyone!

I've been thinking about signing on to MeMadeMay for a while now but I wasn't sure I was completely up for the challenge of wearing me made stuff every single day. At some point I realized that I had made up that rule and after inspecting Zo's rules more closely and finding that each sewer can adapt the challenge for themselves, I decided to sign on myself!

 'I, Kessem of DinosaurGirl, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May '13. I endeavour to wear a me made garment 5 days a week for the duration of May 2013'

I know this wasn't a whole week but I thought I'd still do a roundup:

Wednesday: (May 1st)

I made this dress last weeked and have yet to blog about it so more info to come!

Thursday: (May 2nd)

This I made two weekends ago and haven't blogged about either AND I WON'T BE BLOGGING ABOUT IT EVER. You want to know why? Because the second time I took it out of the closet I saw THERE IS A HUGE GAPING HOLE IN THE FRONT.
Now, I knew this wasn't the greatest quality fabric but this is the second hole I found in this dress - shouldn't it be criminal to sell this kind of fabric? I'M SO FREAKING ANGRY.

Wore them both with these shoes:

That's it for this week!
Also - I got bangs! WOOP! I love them. It took a while getting used to but now, I can't believe I was ever without them!


Sunday, April 28, 2013

The Joys of Having a Dress Form

Hi everyone!

It hasn't been very quiet on the sewing front here, to be honest I've been sewing quite a lot, I just haven't had the chance to take pictures of everything. I love posting on this blog and I love sewing and knowing that when I'm done I'm going to get to show my creation to you guys but it gets to be a little too much at times, I'm sure y'all understand! 

I've been thinking about my sewing and there are two major issues that I feel that I need to deal with (well, three if you count the fact that I'm the messiest sewer ever). One is getting a decent iron and the second is getting a dress form.

My iron is an old simple steam iron that doesn't create steam anymore and frankly, kind of sucks. I'm looking to buy a new iron and to be honest I'm also willing to invest a little $$ (but not a crazy amount). I've done a bit of research and found mixed (yet mostly favorable) reviews for the Rowenta Steam Generator, also, there was a bit of talk about gravity irons which I have yet to wrap my head around - this also had mixed reviews.
Do you guys have any recommendations for irons? I'd LOVE to hear what you guys think!

My birthday present this year was a dress form, which I only acquired a few days ago. I couldn't decide what kind of form to get, whether I should get an adjustable form or a standard form. In the end I got a simple (but sadly still expensive) dress form in a size 38. The waist measurement is quite similar to mine but the chest and hip are slightly smaller, I have yet to decide whether I should pad it a bit or not.
At first I couldn't decide if spending so much money on a dress form that isn't my exact measurements was worth it, I was under so much stress at the store I couldn't even remember what dress forms are used for. After thinking about it for a few minutes I decided that since I've been thinking about getting a dress form for at least a year I should take the plunge and get one.

I decided to write a list of uses for a dress form, so that none of you have to go through what I did at the store. I'm using my own personal (and pathetically short, I know) experience, and some good old Google intelligence:

1) Fit: Many use the dress form for fitting garment on the body. I personally don't find this incredibly accurate because the form isn't my exact size. That being said there are many fitting issues that can be resolved without a form that is your exact double, one is the depth of a neckline in the back or the front, another is the length of the garment. This may not sounds like a good enough reason to spend money on a dress form, but I find it more accurate and easy to do this on the form than on myself.

2) Draping: I've yet to try draping as I draft patterns in the flat pattern method. Again, I guess it isn't perfect because the dress form isn't an exact double but I guess it's better than not being able to drape at all?

3) Pattern Drafting: Ok, so this was a new experience for me. When I draft my patterns I kind of wing it when it comes to neckline depth and length of kimono sleeves and so on. The experience of using a dress form to help me draft was incredible. For instance, I wanted my pattern to have a very low neckline in the back BUT I didn't want it to go lower than my bra. If I didn't have my dress form, I couldn't have measure this on myself and had either to ask someone else for help (someone else who doesn't understand sewing, which is another risk) or wing it. Now that I had the dress form, I pinned the pattern to the dress form after dressing it in my favorite bra and drew the neckline according to where the bra hit. I can't explain how happy I was about this!

4) Playing With Fabric: This is the most exciting aspect of a dress form in my opinion and I had a lot of fun with it during the weekend. I found that I can plan my projects a lot better because I don't have to try things over my PJs and try to figure out if it looks good in the mirror. This is an example of what I did with this fabric I found in my stash that had a very unique border print:

I pinned the fabric along the shoulders, side seams and top of the skirt to create the look (I love that you can just stab the dress form with needles. It's like a voodoo doll only without hurting anyone. At least I hope there's not dress form double out there that cries out in pain every time I stab it with a pin)
The chevron pattern in the middle is create by connecting the two triangle border patterns (not perfectly basted, I admit). At the same time, I wanted to use the other border print as the bottom of the skirt. In my head, I couldn't decide if this would be too busy or crazy, which is why I was happy that for the first time, I could pin the fabric on a dress form and step back to get the whole look.
At this point my mom said that I should shorten the skirt and maybe make the top a little sexier because the fabric is a little aged.

I shortened the skirt (it's not meant to be on the bias, sorry!) and tried to use the chevron pattern to create a tank top (I folded the edges of the triangle under to create the silhouette) . To be honest, I didn't really like the top this way and I knew I wouln't wear it as I think this would widen my shoulders (not to mention that I would have to wear a strapess bra) but shortening the skirt was definitly a good idea.

In the end I made a kimono sleeved bodice (with a low back neckline) and a short skirt. I'll be sure to post a picture when I finish sewing this!

Next, I had some fabric left so I decided to try and use the scraps to make a top. After a lot of head scratching and head banging I came up with this:

Sorry for the crappy picture
The neckline on this one will go up really high to showcase the triangle border print.

This is where I used the whole bra thing. I wanted the back neckline to dip as far as it could because the front is so covered up.

Anyway, I really don't think I'd have had the guts to use this fabric like this if I didn't have my dress form, so in closing I'M SO HAPPY I GOT IT. Even though it doesn't function as a double, I really think it takes the whole idea of design to the next level.

What do you guys think?? Are you thinking about getting a dress form?
How do you use you dress form?
Any recommendations for good irons?

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