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Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

anda dress

I took a sewing class this spring and made a pillow…which was ok. But come on. It was only a pillow. Then I took another sewing class and made a skirt…which did not fit. This was also ok, because it was an actual skirt! With a zipper! So on my own, I made another skirt…which fit poorly. Now I was starting to get frustrated. A good and normal type-A personality may have re-made the wonky skirt, figured out what went wrong, learned from her mistakes. Not I. No, I decided to make a dress, instead!
…Help me, Rhonda.

I used the Anda Dress pattern from BurdaStyle. I printed the pattern at home, which meant I had to tape all those 8.5 x 11″ pieces of paper together into something the size of a human, which was kind of a mess in itself. I started cutting, I started sewing, and then I got completely lost. The fact that this pattern is rated “Very Easy” was not helping matters. I sent several frantic e-mails to Erin, who posesses the sort of kindness and compassion it takes to lie to your friend and tell her the pattern is wacky.

I avoided the dress for a while, but when it came time to start packing up to move, I just wanted to get the thing DONE…one way or another. Moving an unfinished project like this would have surely sealed its fate as The Dress I Started Sewing That One Time.  So I went rogue ont his project. I tossed the instructions (and caution) to the wind. I told myself I’ve been wearing clothes my whole life and by now I have a pretty good idea of how they go together. And I finished it. And it’s…ok.

I like it better with the cardigan than without, which is kind of disappointing since it would make such a nice warm-weather dress, but I get a bit of a hospital gown vibe from it without the cardi. I also hemmed it a little on the short side. Just a little. I’ve worn it twice and received a couple compliments and only one person asked if I made it (at which point I vowed never to wear it again until my sister told me not to worry about it that much). Actually, I surprised a couple people by telling them I made it, so that was pretty satisfying!

I don’t know if I’ll attempt another garment any time soon. Right now the sewing machine just feels like a vehicle for messing up a project faster.  But I hope that someday I’ll make friends with the machine and we will make more dresses together.

The fabric is from eQuilter.com.

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I found this orange vinyl chair at Goodwill a couple years ago. It’s in great shape, it has nice modern lines, and it’s actually pretty comfortable! So I convinced myself that the orange vinyl was groovy and lived with it in my apartment for a while and rather enjoyed this weird little piece of furniture. Now that I’m moving, I have a whole new idea of what I want my home to look like…and it does not include orange vinyl. (Aqua Naugahyde? Perhaps…) Now, I watch more HGTV than any person really ought, but it still took me longer than it should have to realize that reupholstering the chair was the perfect solution for my limited furniture budget! After a few e-mails back and forth with my sewing guru, some ordering and returning of mislabeled fabric with an online fabric store, several trips to good old Jo-Ann’s, and finally working up the courage to just go for it, I have a new chair! It should be noted that I really have no idea what I’m doing, but here’s a little peek at my process:

disassembling the chair.

disassembling the chair.

 

sewed a strip of fabric that fit tightly around the bottom cushion.

sewed a strip of fabric that fit tightly around the bottom cushion.

 

tightly pinned the lid on the bottom cushion.

tightly pinned the "lid" on the bottom cushion.

 

the cover for the back cushion, all sewn up for a snug fit!

the cover for the back cushion, all sewn up for a snug fit!

 

my corners are bunchy. im not skilled enough to know how to make them smooth.

my corners are bunchy. i'm not skilled enough to know how to make them smooth.

 

brand new old chair!

brand new old chair!

At first, I was looking for a fabulous fabric to use, but finally decided to use a plain canvas, since I was pretty sure I was going to mess the whole thing up. And I know all the cool kids would tell me to remove the vinyl and use it as a pattern, but I wasn’t about to take that chance, either. If I botched the reupholstery, I at least wanted my orange chair to remain intact!  Turns out, the chair looks really great. Mass-produced, even! I don’t want to say it was easy…but it kind of was. Being my first attempt at upholstery, I’m not sure if it was easier because the entire chair came apart, or because of the shape of the cushions, or what, but I am completely proud of myself and SO excited about finding the perfect pillow to accessorize my “new” vintage chair!

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I finally got my copy of Doodle Stitching…and I was kind of surprised at what I decided to make first! I think I was excited to do a sewing/embroidery project since I just took a sewing class this weekend, too. And then, of course, there are the babies. All the babies that are arriving this spring. And these babies, they need little squishy handmade animals with cute stuff embroidered on their tummies, you know? I started this felt owl without a specific baby in mind (thinking maybe I’d make a whole fleet of them…and I still may), but I’m pretty sure I know who this one is for. 🙂 This owl is 4″ tall. More pics on Flickr.

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So I have renovated my blog. When I started Knits ‘n Pieces nearly 3 years ago, I never imagined that I might want to blog about anything other than knitting. Turns out, I do. I want to keep track of everything from my jewelry work to…well, paper deer heads (for example), so I’ve moved. And here we are. Welcome. 🙂

For months I’ve been knitting nothing but baby items, and my knitting mojo is on the skids. I’ll get it back, but I don’t even care to post progress photos of what I’ve been working on because it seems so painfully dull to me right now. There are several projects on the sticks, and I’m still plugging away, but I’ll save that for another post. In the meantime, I am all excited about a couple of new crafty endeavors! I feel like learning how to sew properly is long overdue. I can get the machine loaded up and head in a straight line, but that’s where it ends. I want to know all the little stuff that I don’t know, so I signed up for a sewing class. I went to the craft store to get my materials the other night, and just wandered aimlessly for what felt like hours. No kidding, it really may have been hours. I didn’t bother checking the time. And I don’t even know if I got the right materials. Which confirmed that some basic sewing instruction would indeed be beneficial.

I’m not sure where the urge to embroider came from, exactly, but I have a feeling that Cauchy may have had a lot to do with it. I ordered a couple books (Doodle Stitching and The New Crewel), but I’ve only gotten as far as winding my embroidery floss. I have to find some time to sit down and teach myself. Hopefully that will happen soon. Still, I’m looking forward to make some pretty, delicate, kitschy little things. I think they will make me quite happy.

And in the “kinda new, but not really” category, I have a new sea glass ring in the shop! Some of my Twitter friends helped me critique a white sea glass ring some time ago, but it just didn’t captivate me the way the green one did. Or does. I found some rare lavender sea glass (the history of which is really interesting!) and sort of had a feeling that it would give me the look and feel I was going for.  And I think I sort of love it.

After leaving Etsy, I wondered how I would be able to get my work “out there” for people who weren’t already familiar with me. I made a Facebook page, but I’m not so good at playing Facebook, so I don’t know how much good it’s done. What has seemed to make more of a difference was participating in a couple of online marketplaces. In a previous post, I mentioned that I was part of the Paper ‘n Stitch exhibition, and I decided to stick around for another month! This month, you can also find me at the Poppytalk Green Pop Handmade Marketplace, as well as a whole bunch of other fabulous indie shops. Both of these sites are great places to find new handmade shops that may or may not be on Etsy, so be sure to check them out!

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