Saturday, April 30, 2011

Bohemian Dress

I'm working on three things right now. I have very little to finish Butterick 5523 which I posted about two weeks ago. I'm playing around in my head images of phoenixes and dragons in attempt at designing and laying out a quilt. This post is going to be about my initial stages of copying this RTW outfit.

My friend found this site a few days ago and can't find the exact pattern, but it looks easy enough to duplicate so I sort of volunteered to make her some sewing instructions to copy it. There were quite a few patterns that are similar to it, but the RTW dress actually seems simpler than most of the patterns anyway. I'll be making it for the nerdlet, but it should be fairly simple to use any other measurements.

Here is a correction to the top front piece listed above.

a - is the measurement from your shoulders to where you want it to land in the back. Make sure for this and future measurements that you account for how much it will come off the body. Add a little more for stiffer fabrics. I think this point should be just below where your bra strap lands. On the Nerdlet, who obviously doesn't wear a bra yet, is 8 inches.

c - is the measurement from your shoulders to where you want it to land in the front, which also would probably be just below where your bra strap lands. On the Nerdlet, this is the same as a, but likely for adult women, this number is going to be a lot bigger than a.

d - is the length of the sleeve or arms. I would add a little to this number as you can sew the sleeve shorter at the end if you want, but you won't be able to lengthen them. Nerdlet's d = 10 inches

e - For this number you divide the desired neck opening by 2. So this number is 3 for Nerdlet.

f - for the length of each of the panels for the skirt, you want to know first how long the distance from the bottom of a and c is to where you want the dress to hang. For the nerdlet, because she is very active and runs a lot, I want this dress to hang off the floor quite (about 2 inches). You take this measurement (for the nerdlet this is 18 inches) and divide it by 3. So Nerdlet's f = 6 inches.

g - this measurement is the hip measurement plus the amount of ease you want. For me, I would add four inches to my hip measurement, but for the nerdlet I measured her favorite dress around where the first panel would drop on her and I'm going with 30 inches (which is 12 inches of ease for her).

h - I'm going to do 50% more on each layer so you multiply 1.5 times g. h for the nerdlet is 45 inches

i - Again multiply 1.5, so i for Nerdlet is 60 inches.

j - Take the desired neck opening divide by two and take this number from e. Nerdlet's j is 3.5.

b - This number is another calculation. For this number you first divide g by 2 (15 for Nerdlet), then you take this result and add d twice (so g/2 + 2d). Nerdlet's number here is 35.

The shapes of the top two pieces aren't exact and will be altered a little, but I'm going to go with these numbers (+ seam allowances) to cut out the pieces, and I hope I have the numbers right because I don't have the nerdlet in front of me right now (or I wouldn't have had time to type this up). Before I start cutting, though I'm off to finish Butterick 5523, as I was planning to wear it tomorrow.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Another zoo trip

I took the girls and my MIL to the zoo today. It was a beautiful day today, cool and breezy and just about perfect for San Antonio in late April for a trip like this. I took pictures of every animal in order to practice.

First though, pictures of my girls:

It seemed like all the animals were active today. Here are some of my favorites.

The girls are doing well. There have been some brush fires outside of SA right noe so we all are a little congested today, but nothing other than that. I've had a hard few weeks recently. After the girls and Q all were sick, one of my cousins ended up admitted to the hospital with a kidney infection and a few other personal things, but they are resolved and I'm enjoying settling back into a routine. The nerdlet and the bear cub are eating like mad and have gained back all the weight they lost. The nerdlet has fat on her for the first time that I've seen, though my BIL looked at me like I was crazy when I tried to point it out. She's also being less bossy and I've even heard her use please and thank you to the bear cub when they are playing together. The bear cub is adding a bunch of sign to her vocabulary and trying harder to communicate with us. She has requested 'Baby Signing Time' by signing all three signs and has signed 'special' which is a sign she has only ever seen in the song at the end of one of the videos. Darth Baby is bigger at four months than the nerdlet was at nine. She still isn't rolling over either way, but she is army crawling, even over things, and will push herself all the way up on her arms to look around. She has four signs she uses pretty consistently - "Mom", "Dad", "Up", and "Eat", and she seems to know what they mean. The girls are all still doing really well as siblings. The older two love to build and play in forts together. The bear cub will take and hold Darth Baby's hand every chance she gets. I love these sweet girls so much.

Monday, April 18, 2011

M4478 - The three hats

I finished the second and third hats today. The nerdlet really likes the first hat and has been wearing it on and off all yesterday and today.

Here are the three hats together.

The nerdlet wearing hers.

The bear cub modeling another. She doesn't like wearing the hats at all, but she does take great joy in allowing me to put them on her head so that she can throw it as far as possible.

Sunday, April 17, 2011


This is a project run by a military man to bring sewing (and knitting and other) supplies to women in Iraq that cannot get supplies do to all the troubles going on. The current iteration is targeting widows. Leave a comment on his page and he will send you the address to mail your package to and the details for that package.

Saturday, April 16, 2011


I finished the first hat that I'm making for the girls. I'm using M4478 view F, but I made it two sizes bigger than the XL on the pattern to fit the nerdlet's head. I'm making all three that size. They won't fit Darth Baby, but they might fit the bear cub. I'll find out in the morning. I have sun hats for Darth Baby and the bear cub, so I'm not as worried about the hats fitting them. I'm using upholstery samples from a department store on one side and on the other what I think is the same fabric of unknown materials from clearance at a Hancock's that went out of business about five years ago (which is the last time I was doing any sewing other than quilting really).

Here is the pattern. I made the pink hat in the middle column on the bottom.

And here is the hat which is sort of reversible, but I likely won't use the blue size unless one of the girls insists.

It's a pretty easy pattern as long as you're comfortable sewing curves that go in opposite directions, and if you're not, you may be if you make this hat once or twice.

The Budding Seamstress

Is it sad that I'm really pleased that while I was picking out fabric to make the girls sunhats that the nerdlet pointed to this fabric and said, "Look, pintucks!"

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Pattern Crazy

Hancock fabrics has Simplicity patterns for $1.00 this week (ending on Wednesday) and Butterick patters for $1.99. I went crazy and bought a bunch since after reviewing the patterns I have, most have a max size that would require more than just a FBA. I also figured at that price it was really worth it to stock a few, even if I don't use them all. I'm considering selling some of my old patterns on eBay, along with a handful I got from my mom recently (though I don't know how much in demand 80s patterns really are). I've never sold on eBay and apparently they seem to think that I don't know my mother's maiden name so if I can't open my old account, it won't even be an issue.

I'm not going to post all the patterns I bought, but my plan is to first make this one (Butterick 5523) using the gray and black knits my cousin sent me:

In other news, I started a facebook page for my business, Creativity Abounds. My website is kind of a mess and my husband has been bothering me to let him fix it for a long time but for some reason I've been stubborn about it. Now that I no longer have Carpal's Tunnel from pregnancy, I'm hoping to get the business up and running again. It takes such a lot to get going in the quilting business, especially when you look young, and I'm pretty much starting over. I also started an Etsy page under Quitereasonable. I wanted to use my business name, but someone had already taken it. I plan on selling my dragon quilts like this one, but customizing the colors.

The girls seem to be doing better. The bear cub is still recovering, but luckily her appetite has recovered. Q caught it. Apparently you can only be thrown up on so many times before you catch it yourself. So far, Darth Baby and I seem to have escaped the worst of it.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Ipad Giveaway

Want a chance to win an Ipad 2? Christy is hosting a giveaway of an Ipad 2 to fund her son's adoption. Alexander is a child with Down syndrome in Eastern Europe that has already been sent to a mental institution. They are so very close to being fully funded and your donation could make the difference. Your chance to win is much higher than it would be normally because she is giving away extra chances and many mothers such as myself have donated without entering the drawing. I hope you win!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Food Poisoning

My poor Nerdlet and Bear Cub have food poisoning. Additionally, Bear Cub has bronchitis and a sinus infection. The bear cub got a shot of a super antibiotic and is now on a daily dose. She seems to be feeling a little better but is still puking and has awful diarrhea. Neither one has their normal energy or appetite. I went to the pharmacy to fill the prescription for an anti nausea medicine and the nerdlet wasn't in the system. She's three-and-a-half and has never had anything prescribed for her before, and likely had the bear cub not been puking so much, she would have been fine in a few more days without any drugs. Unfortunately, she has dropped back down to 23 pounds (at 36 1/4 inches) so she doesn't look particularly healthy right now.

Darth Baby had her four month exam and shots today. She does really well with them. She really lets you know how mad she is when it happens, but pretty much stops screaming within seconds of it being over. She's 24 1/4 inches and 13 pounds 1 ounce. She's still not rolling over and seems to have little interest in doing so, but she starting to scoot herself around a little. Q says her goals are to stand, walk, open the refrigerator, and open packages of food. She isn't interested in any of those unnecessary steps like rolling.

I plan on introducing solids as soon as all the girls are feeling better. When I say introduce, I mean tastes. I know this is pretty controversial, but I really believe that the reason the girls are willing to eat so many things is because of the introduction of tastes and textures so early. People comment on them eating such a variety because I do, but in reality, I was one of the pickiest eaters around when I was little. I wouldn't try hardly anything without gagging and had the exact same lunch every day from 1st through 6th grade (including days I wasn't in school) and it didn't involve any fruits or vegetables. If you weren't offering me some type of bread, I likely wasn't interested. While the nerdlet and the bear cub have actually fought over cauliflower with cheese, I was puking at just the thought of eating it until I was almost a teenager. Q is/was also a pretty picky eater. I'm going to start with avocado, like I did with her two sisters, so we'll see how that goes.

I did recently go to my first quilt shop hop. It was 12 quilt shops in Kerrville, San Antonio, Austin, and some surrounding cites. My MIL even won one of the door prizes from one of the shops. I was planning on posting pictures as I tried to take some of each shop that I went to, but I haven't got my camera completely figured out and some of my pictures are actually weird videos and some didn't come out at all. Look below for a few pictures. I got to meet someone that I met in a quilting community years ago by chance when I commented on one of her quilts. I also found it interesting that in two of the shops quite a few of the employees recognized me, and some customers did, too. I had a lot of fun and am definitely going to try to go to the one next year (which will be 13 shops).

Each shop did a rendition of the same quilt and each of the shops gave you a piece of the pattern for that quilt. The stores actually sold the whole pattern for $39.00. Here are some of the pics of those quilts.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

My Sisters are So Weird

Bear cub, you aren't going to pat my head again, are you?

Yep, that's definitely what you are going to do.

Oh, you can play nice.

What was that?

The nerdlet is doing something odd.

My sisters are weird, but they keep me entertained.

Friday, April 1, 2011

More on M5661 and Simplicity 4076

First a picture of a bumper sticker that I liked.

My gym has four infant slots at any given time. I need two whenever I go because the bear cub is not walking yet. The reason they give me is that they only have personnel to take care of four that need to be carried in the event of an emergency. Anyway, I love this class called Soul Grooves that is sort of a dance medley that takes place at 11 am on Friday, but I can hardly ever take it because there aren't two slots available most times when I call. They allow me to call 48 hours in advance and I have my cell phone alarm set so that I can speed dial them when it comes up and I still don't always get it. I found out why today and that is because the class instructor takes up one of the slots. So frustrating.

Now, on to the sewing...I love my M5661 blouse that I made with the puffy sleeves. It makes me feel girly. I'm thinking about bringing the sides in a smidge more, but I'll wait until I wear it a full day to see how that much ease feels. Most of the sewing blogs I read are about people that are very into fashion and their priorities are a good fit and appearance, but I'll admit that my top priority is comfort.

The changes that I did make to M5661 are the same changes that I had made to the muslins for the other view, but I also scooped the sleeve openings of the back piece more. Those changes were as follows: I decreased the length from the shoulder to breast by 1/2" all the way across. I straighten the shoulder to almost straight across since I have very little slant in my shoulders across. I put in a large sway back adjustment (doubling the typical suggested amount). I increased the curve on the sides to 1/2" smaller 3" below the side bust dart on both the front and back pattern pieces. I decreased each back pattern piece by 2" across. I changed the back buttons to have a back seam and a hook and loop at the top. Because this view had sleeves, I had to also take a 1/2" out of the two sleeve pieces to fit the armhole. I plan on coming back to this pattern again, but I've put it aside for now so that I can dig into the knit fabric that my cousin so generously sent.

I've decided to make a few tops of Simplicity 4076. I read through a lot of reviews of this pattern and most mentioned not having to make even FBAs to make it fit, I decided to skip the muslin and try to make one straight from the pattern. I picked one of the smaller pieces of fabric I had, which was 1 1/3 yards of 60 inch fabric and cut out a size 24 for view B.

Everything went wrong with this pattern so it turned out I made a muslin after all. I often read on various people's blogs reasons not to sew when your tired, but if I didn't sew when I was tired, I would never get to sew. After all I do have 3 children 3 and under. First I tried to sew a Mobius strip of of the three pieces. I finally figured out the reason I was getting confused was that I cut one of the pieces upside down so there was no way that three pieces were going to work with all right sides showing. Since the pattern pieces barely fit on the fabric (size 24 suggests 1 5/8 yard) there wasn't an option to cut the piece again, I figured I had a muslin after all. I then proceded to sew the neck binding on the wrong side and found that I hadn't cut out the piece I thought I had upside down, but the other front piece, so the whole thing was sort of inside out after sewing the binding and the sides together. Well, it is a muslin after all so I didn't worry about it. The mistakes continued and I won't even go into them, but I am going to make sure that I get more sleep before I cut a wearable version.

I did like the outcome. It is very comfortable and I think the fit is mostly good other than my sway back, which I've decided to leave as I'd rather not have the extra seam it would require. The only change to the pattern I made was to add an inch to the neckline for modesty. Here are my pics.