Friday, January 23, 2015

Wool Duffle Coat

I am so excited to share what I now consider my most successful sewing project to date: a men's duffle coat.

It is

It was also one of the gifts gracing the undercarriage of the tree this past Christmas. Needless to say, I sewed my fingers off leading up to that magical date so this baby would be ready for my husband Justin to open on Christmas day. Let me say: worth it. 

Made of a deliciously thick camel-colored wool, it is lined with plaid and has delightful little bone-and-leather toggles to button up against the chill. I used the Albion by Colette pattern to create it. It is a downloadable pdf pattern. I have used one pdf pattern before and distinctly remembered it being a challenge. Much like fitting together a jig-saw puzzle, all the printed pages have to be fitted together to create one piece of the pattern. Just assembling the pattern itself took me about 2 hours. 

I bought the wool from Hancock's fabric. Btw, wool can get pricey. I had wanted to sew this coat for J since August but he wasn't a fan of some choices and others, like the sinfully plush wools from Mood fabrics, ran for about $40 a yard. Finally, thanks to kismet and my mad coupon skills, this wool hit the jackpot.

I just love it when a new project comes together like this. It is exciting to test myself and see what I am capable of making. Thanks to this coat I now have super impressive arm muscles from pulling the thick layers of fabric, wool, and leather bits through my machine. Thanks again Mama Jean for lending me your awesome Brother sewing machine. It powers through everything.

Yes, it did take me an inordinately long time to complete, probably knocking on 17 hours total. A large part of this time was taking it apart and putting it back together every time I made a mistake.
Despite this, I would love to make another coat like this for myself. The pattern could be easily edited to make it a bit more form fitting and less boxy. Red wool, I am thinking. Siren red. With a herringbone interior. Sigh.

I am so thankful to have such an awesome husband; one who puts up with my hair-brained schemes and listens to me raphsodize lover-like over new patterns and fabrics. You look good in your new coat, babe. But then again, don't you always?

Coat: self made, shoes: Clarks, jeans and button-front: J Crew

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Key Hole Circle Dress

Nothing ignites my creative fire like scrolling through a Free People catalogue.
I love all the color, the billowing shape, the romantic touches, and the exotic flavor that the designers and editors pour into each edition. 

However, like most twenty-four-somethings, I cannot drop upwards of $150 on one of their lovely dresses. As much as it pains me to abstain, that money has better places it can go. Like my savings account, or the fund for an imaginary French riviera vacation.

When times like this occur, I sigh and snap the cover of the catalogue shut. Then run right to the fabric store. 

Some of my more flamboyant creations have come from one too many hours of Free People induced fever, like my Shibori Goddess Gown. Today's feature is a little more simple. 

A few months ago I fell in love with one of their fall creations, the Dynasty Dress. It is a simple piece, just a scrap of jersey cotton and a lovely large keyhole front. I just had to make my own. 

I think the fabric for this dress cost me all of $15. Bought from Joanns, it was thin, drapey, bubblegum pink that screamed female. I used a McCalls pattern for the body of the dress, altering it a bit to create the key hole front and gathering at the tops of the sleeves.

I love it when a project comes together so seamlessly. This dress is the perfect amount of floaty, feminine, and casual. I absolutely love the pattern as well and plan to indulge in many more renditions of this dress. My next one will be floral. I think.

I love this dress to the moon and back. The single drawback is its body-hugging, curve-enhancing shape. You definitely can't pig out on salsa and queso and rock this baby, it is very unforgiving. 

Oh well, c'est la vie. 


Thursday, January 1, 2015

Christmas is for the cats

A bit late on this post, I know.

Christmas is behind us, along with (gasp!) the year of 2014. It is only seems fitting that I glance back at the creations of that year and share the odd and silly things I have made.
At the top of this list is my cat patterned dress.

Cats. Dress. Some would say they belong together.

This dress began when I stumbled across this fabric at Hancock's. Cats?! I could't believe it. I knew I would have to make something with it. I was very inspired by Mod Cloth and their lovely vintage looks. This dress is a Frankenstein of modern and classic, accentuated with black bits of piping and peppered with tiny orange kitties.

The dress is actually the combination of three different patterns. I used the pleated skirt of one, the button front top of another, and finally finagled a key hole back from the drawing board. It came together very nicely and I just love the open back detailing. I may have to make another dress similar to this one. 

I have to say that the most challenging aspect of this dress was the piping. I can never seem to get it lay along the seam cleanly. Possibly more you-tube videos are in my future. Something will have to give. If you have any good resources I would appreciate hearing about them!

And finally: a quick shot of my and the kitty that inspired it all. Say hey, Algernon.

Dress: self-made, flats: super bedraggled Steve Madden