Laura H. Thursday, June 13, 2013

I have this rule for myself. It is called my, "There is no can't' rule. I try (with a few very notable failures, so there is a TRY in my world) not to say I can't do something when in reality it is a 'won't' instead of a 'can't.'*

For the longest time, I said that I couldn't sew for myself. I'm fat (and there is no shame in the word fat. Spades are spades, and I am fat. Not curvy, buxom, or padded. I'm fat. I like cupcakes and cookies too much and if a day ever passes that Dr Pepper doesn't cross these lips at least once, i will be a very sad person. I'm fat. And I don't mind being called fat. End mini-rant.) and patterns just aren't really designed for fat people - the curvy ones, yes. Fat ones, not so much.**

Then I learned how to grade a pattern. Slash and spread method works best for me - measuring a couple of key fit points then cutting the pattern and spreading it apart to match the measurements. But that is time consuming. It takes me DAYS to do that with a commercial pattern. Usually, I will get through about 3/4 of the pattern and be so worn out and sick of it because I'm not even to the fun bits yet that I give up, and wear one of my 4 remaining tops and cut off stretch pants combos.

But I had been thinking for a while that maybe I could do with my own stuff what I had done with Elizabeth's - make a pattern. Only trouble is that none of my stuff fits like I want it to. Sigh. Well, I certainly WON'T be spending boatloads of time on a task I hate for small rewards. So, back to making clothes for Elizabeth.

So I just would not sew for myself. Time consuming, poor fit, and kinda stinky choices for patterns. Nope, I just won't do it. I can. But I won't. Then one day, I am poodling around on Instagram and someone whispers about a grown-up version of Amanda's (of Kitschy Coo fame) Skater Dress. At the time, Elizabeth was messing around the house in a diaper, mismatched leg-warmers (classy) and one of the tees I had made for her from the Skater pattern. Suddenly it hit me. If this really happened, maybe I could.... But I shut that thought down fast. Grading is hard. It takes FOREVER. UGH.

I watched as excitement grew over this Big Girl Skater (as it was called then.) And I kinda got bitten. I've made Elizabeth FOUR of the  little girl dresses, the construction is easy enough for a blind monkey to do it. MAYBE.... Maybe I'll buy the pattern and just *try*. 'Cause trying is allowed here (no Yoda, ya know?) And if it didn't work, I know a bajillion other people I could make skater dresses for. Easy wearing, comfy. Elizabeth loves hers! Yeah, I'll try.

I went out and bought four yards of fabric. Clearance table, half off the clearance price, so $3 a yard. $12 isn't much to gamble on a maybe, especially since I love the fabric. And I came home and waited.

Lady Skater was available yesterday morning.*** I bought it, taped it together and got to cutting it apart. Four and a half hours later, I was done grading. Gears screech to a halt, I take on the look of someone who has just found Jesus, and nearly fall over myself getting to my fabric.

Lets have a picture, shall we?

You will just have to click the picture for all the awesomeness that is this dress. A small image just doesn't do the fabric justice. And A couple of things - 1) we covered fat. 2) i have alopecia aerata. And one more, 3) you can Google alopecia aerata.

SUCCESS!! I am so glad that Amanda lives a whole ocean away. My squealing over IG was bad enough, I'm sure. I would probably have frightened her half to death if she lived any nearer.

I LOVE THIS DRESS. I'm wearing right now. And I see it going to church on Sunday with me (skulls, hearts, and all.) I goofed in grading the skirt, so the sides hang a little weird, but this is me not caring. I have a dress, that I made with my hands that fits and doesn't look like something my granny or a hooker would wear!

Well. Okay. MAYBE my granny would have worn it if I'd asked her to. She was kinda cool.

But wait! There's more! Elizabeth has little Skater tees. Why shouldn't I? Exactly, I should. So I do!

It is a tee. That is long enough! And doesn't look like a tent! See, not only am I fat, but I'm 5'10" tall. Back neck to hem of 29 inches? Might as well be a tube top. I'm considering re-cutting one of my favorite tees into this pattern. I am not sure if it will work but I'm definitely going to give it the once over tonight.

I am the happiest woman alive right now. I have clothes that fit. That I made. THAT I MADE!

* there is one thing I simply can't do. And that is be someone's biological father. Tho, with the way science is advancing, there may be hope.

** some lines have options for bustier gals, but very few allow for room for a belly. Sadface!

*** renaming happened due to questions about it being a 'plus sized' pattern. That is more amusing to me than it probably should be!

Laura H. Saturday, May 18, 2013

Follow my blog with Bloglovin Just letting you know, I've joined bloglovin' to keep up with the blogs I read. I'm the worst about updating the list on the side, so that will come soon!

Laura H. Thursday, May 16, 2013

I've not been having a very good week. Things have gone wrong, been stressful, and generally unsatisfying. In the throes of a week like that, sometimes it is the things you think are going to fail miserably that end up being the nicest successes.

First there was this dress. I started it after finding the pink in the remnants at Joann's. I still think the neck is a bit big, and the dress itself may be too big. I cut it as a 4 instead of my usual 3 in this style. And it is also knit. But, even if it is too big, little girls grow. I like how this one turned out but all along the way I kept saying, "Oh no. Oh NO! This isn't going to do at all!" And who knows, maybe it isn't all that great, but it is cute and Elizabeth likes it. Those are the things that matter, right? It is a little heavy (it is interlock knit) so it may be better saved for fall.

Most Thursday's, I find myself at my mom's house around 9:30am having dropped Elizabeth off at her second playschool of the week. They need her at this one - she is the only child that talks in her class. They are all 2, but she's the talker. Well, while I am at my mom's, I usually take something to cut out. I took this last Thursday and got it all cut out, then when we got home, I put it together. SO FAST! And I am stupidly pleased with my 'matched plaids' that are only matched one direction. But hey! They match one direction and I'd never even tried before! Yay me!

Then there is this. I have no idea where the pattern came from, but you better believe that I'm going to make a blue-million more of them. I wasn't sure about it because of the tucks in the front, but now I am converted. Tucks are in, pleats can go rot. But this fabric has been laying around since I first started sewing. It didn't really go with anything and there wasn't much of it. There was barely enough for this dress, and that is with piecing the back! I'm probably going to do a facing instead of bias tape at the neck though. I'm NOT crazy about bias at the neckline anyway. And the buttons are three from the pile-o-buttons that I got from my grandmother's sewing room. And no. The Boy Scout did not pick them this time! He cried off at having too many options.

Really? He just wanted to play Final Fantasy 7 and be left alone.

Laura H. Thursday, May 9, 2013

I did a ton of sewing this week, but the weather has been very Tennessee and I only have pictures of one project. However that project is the one I am most proud of!

I got the PDF Puppet Show pattern last fall and made a dress from it out of stuff I just had laying around. I have wanted to make another because the purple one is WAY too short now. But that just isn't to be, it seems. I keep having mismatches of fabrics AND I'm on a buying freeze right now too.

But, Elizabeth needs neutral shorts. I made the mistake of starting my shorts making with some very limiting (but extremely cute) options. So now we need solids and basics - like brown. And denim.

First, let me start by saying that I always get intimidated by all the little bits and bobs in Oliver + S patterns. I *know*! It isn't hard, follow the directions, it's really all very logical. But it gets me every time! That's why I never made these shorts. All those teeny pieces were overwhelming.

After making six basic shorts, I figured some of her more boring basics could be less boring with a cute pattern. And boy was I right.

I love being right. Don't you?

Ta-da! Now, they are sitting a little low on her in this pic. She's wearing a disposable diaper and the poor child has *no* hips or booty to hold her pants up. And the denim - yeah. Maybe not the best choice for this pattern. I had to trim out bulk til I was green in the face and the waistband still isn't snug enough. But, she wears cloth diapers most of the time (we were stripping them yesterday) so they will be fine with her artificial backside.

And they cost me next to nothing. After the pattern, the shorts themselves are made from a pair of jeans that a good friend of mine gave me to chop up! FREE! Whooo! Thanks Renee!

And yes, cold bribes are used in this house. Especially when it is 80 degrees outside.

I can't believe how big she is getting. Those legs are little kid legs! For real. You can't see it in this pic, but she had a BAD fall at playschool yesterday. There's a big bleedy cut on her knee, a big old purple bruise complete with road rash on the inside of that knee, and her opposite shin is scraped. GAK! went the mommy in me. She seems unphased.

Laura H. Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Okay, so no stuff I've made this week. Sorry. Not that I haven't made stuff, but I'm just LAZY and want to talk about other things.

The title of this post is a direct quote from one of the other playschool moms. About a week ago, we were all talking about school and where we live and where we are zoned for Elementary school. Also about all the stuff kids have to know before they even start school. And she just said what we were all thinking as we waited to pick up our 2 and 3 year olds.

So where we live now has an interesting policy in it's public schools. There is a uniform. Now, it is a very relaxed uniform policy compared to what I've heard about private schools - but it has to be. After all, these are public schools.

And I recognize that public schools in Tennessee are pretty unimpressive in terms of instruction, but public schools in general are pretty unimpressive right now. But I'm not talking about that stuff. You want that debate, go elsewhere. I know how to sew, not how to fix a broken system.

But, back to the task at hand. Uniforms! The kids on our street all head off in their little outfits every day and surprisingly, there's not a real notion of them all looking like little clones. Cause it is a pretty relaxed policy. It states that Navy, black, or any shade of khaki pants, skorts, shorts, skirts, jeans, capris or jumpers. And it goes on to define the fit of those too - straight leg; if there's belt loops, wear a belt; no cargo pants; shorts and skirts no more than 3 inches above the knee. And shirts have to have to be collared and in approved colors. Likewise with sweaters and sport coats.

Every bit of which is reasonable as far as I'm concerned. Hairstyles and jewelry are limited, too. But they are limited to the realm of reasonable - if it is distracting, don't do it. Common sense.

Well, I'm just over the moon excited! Because there are no specified brands in any of this stuff! They list Dockers as an example, but go out of the way to make it clear that there's no brand requirements. This means that I can make Elizabeth's uniforms! WAHOO!

Not like it is going to be happening any time soon, mind. She isn't even three yet and won't start school until a few days before she turns five. But I have been worried about this. I really love making her clothes and going to school 5 days a week would cut way back on what I would need to sew for her.

Not anymore!

And as if to celebrate, I got an email from Oliver + S offering 50% off my next order.  So I used it to buy some uniform-like basics. Now, I have the Puppet Show set in the smaller sizes and the shorts and top from that will be good for Kindergarten I think. And I have the Sunday Brunch (skirt) and the 2+2 (again, skirt) in the smaller sizes too. But I ordered the Music Class and Hopscotch sets for the top and skirts options in the larger sizes. After all, we've got two-ish years.

And the rule on dresses follows the rules for tops - collars, solid colors as dictated by the school. So you know how many dress patterns I have that have a little Peter Pan collar on them? SCADS. But even so, the Fairy Tale dress and the Jump Rope dress fit the requirements. Although the Fairy Tale might be a stretch - no buttons on the front.

At least one of my friends thinks I'm crazy. Probably all of them do - and maybe I am. But if our bug is going to be in school here, then I am going to make her clothes to be there.

Except the polo shirts. If she wants them, we buy them. I HATE that material and those collars give me hives.

Laura H. Saturday, April 27, 2013

Well, look at this! I'm blogging twice in a week! Who ever heard of such a thing?!

Anyway, business first! Congratulations to Emily (Pickled Weasel) who won the Doli Tank! My initial winner never returned my email, so I picked again and Emily won. Yay! She hails from a place without proper summers it seems, so I hope there will be pictures of layering goodness to arrive in the LouBee flickr pool!

I'm afraid that my turnout for the past three days has not been as impressive as the first three. At least in quantity. And if you could see the inside of one item, quality is lacking as well!

 First up today is this number. It is only two pieces, the top being reversible. That top is just a standard issue wrap-around pinafore. The shorts are my go-to shorts pattern, but I gathered the legs and added a strip of grosgrain ribbon to make them more bloomer-like. They are not legitimate bloomers, though. They just look like it. I'm not sure but once I have more black thread, I may add some grosgrain to the top, too.

 Next is this Popover Sundress from Oliver + S. I made so many last year and even though my pattern collection has grown a LOT this year, I really love how simple this pattern is. And how foolproof! Daddy-proof too. No front or back. But. I'm not completely happy with this one. Construction-wise, I'm pleased. The white eyelet outer and the green gingham (not Gangnam! Sheesh!) inner are separate pieces joined only by the top panels and bias ties. It is pretty flawless. But. I really liked it better in theory than practice. The devil is in the details, I suppose.

 And I finally made my first pattern from the Sew Fab bundle sale! It is a Go To Shift Dress from Go To Patterns. And I have to tell you that I am stupidly proud of this one. I had just enough of this fabric (it has a teeny flower print on it in white) to do something super simple with. I knew that the bias on this one would make or break it, so I went to the bias tape drawer and nixed green, red, and yellow in favor of this blue. Which I ten decided that I needed to match with some screen printed butterflies! So I added some purple to some blue until I had something close. And I simply can't believe how spot on it is! The length became an issue when I measured for the hem. Elizabeth grew last week and so my hem measurements changed from the time I cut it to the time I stitched it up. Oops! So instead of a hem, it has the same bias tape around the bottom edge. I have plans to cut off leggings into bike-shorts when the hot weather really arrives, so a pair of white shorts will set this off nicely, I think.

 I have never in all my life sewn a pillowcase dress. And the past year, I'd almost sworn it off because they have been soooo trendy and soooo all over everywhere that touts handmade items. Those two things are generally the kiss of death to me. Hip? Trendy? Overpriced boutiquey? Hand me my hatchet! But. I inherited a sizable number of hand-embroidered pillowcases from my dad's mother. And I seem to have inherited kick-butt sewing skills from my mom's mother. So I decided to bite the bullet and just do one. Next time, I won't do this style, but I WILL still use the pillowcases. And I do think this one is pretty cute.

 If you ever meet this Geranium Dress in person, do not turn it inside out. It is BAD. The combo of piping and attaching the lining separately just didn't work for me. Actually, I won't be trying to separate-step lining attachment again any time soon. Ppfftt. Really, I just don't have time for the ripping it out and redoing that it took to get it looking presentable on the outside. And the inside? I will invoke Tarder Sauce and say: NO. This is also the most expensive fabric I have ever bought! It is from the Little Lisette Collection at Joann's and I only got 30% off. But, I had to have it. And it is stinkin' cute! Elizabeth loves it too - I had to make a skirt for one of her dollhouse animals out of a scrap she found. It has about four popsicles on it but she doesn't care. 

So maybe it isn't that bad for three days work. I have another outfit that I worked on just a bit today, but it is extremely fiddly - facings, overlays, and a wave-edge hem. I may have lost my mind.


Laura H. Wednesday, April 24, 2013

** I picked the winner of the Doli Tank pattern yesterday and emailed her, but I have not heard back. Be sure to check your spam folder! If I don't hear from my winner by Friday afternoon, I'll pick someone else.**

In case you didn't know, I am an energetic seamstress and a lazy blogger.

Anyway! It is Kids Clothing Week! Yay! This kind of marks a blogging birthday for me. I've been blogging in earnest for a year now. Not bad! The only two things I've done for longer than a year are be married and be a mom. Well done me.

For day one of Kids Clothes Week, I started a lot of things but only finished one. A Skater Dress made with some of the fabric that I got at Sir's on our Day Out when the Boy Scout was sick. This was the first time I actually did the arm bands (I follow directions so very well, you know.)

And I made this one in an 18 month/2T size. It fits perfectly! The 3T/4T was a bit too long and while this one may not last all summer, it will get a ton of wear right now. It is actually in the wash pile with ketchup on it as I type.

Elizabeth loves it. And I love it because the chance of unintentional moons is slim. This is the only pattern in existence that I can still make her a 2T in and it fit. Everything else is a 3 or sometimes even a 4.

Day Two featured a little less time, but I did finish up what I started the day before.

Pardon the car-hood pic. This fabric is SUPER thin and it is really windy. This is a patternless sunsuit that I put together from an old skirt. The top and legs are shirred with elastic thread and the straps have elastic. And I managed to get some snaps in the crotch (there has to be a better word. Really. We are intelligent people. Maybe we can think of something better.)

The original skirt came from the ether I think. I know that I did not buy it for me or buy it for my pile of recycling things. So I have no idea where it came from. But, it is pretty adorable as a sunsuit.

I also don't know if it is going to fit. Being patternless, I'm really second-guessing it right now. My hope is that it is going to fit and look a lot cuter on Elizabeth than it does on the hood of my car. I did manage to hold it up to her and I *think* it is going to be okay.

I started by making a dress - shirred top and straps. Then I followed this tutorial on how to turn a dress in to a romper. Well, sort of followed it. Again, with the following directions and just not doing it most of the time.

Then I polished off a couple of more Doli Tanks. Following directions is just not in my makeup this week, it seems. I just tugged too much at the bindings and got some wrinklies and bubblies. But, that doesn't change the cuteness or the wearability at all. And Elizabeth is already fond of the purple and white. She may take come convincing about the black and orange - but thankfully summer lasts until November here.

And today, Day three is Shorts-ageddon. Shorts-isbord. I made a bunch of shorts! The brown, pink, and purple are knit. The others are various forms of wovens. ALL of them are recycled from other things. Yay! For five pairs of shorts for $4!

There was another pair of shorts but it had an unfortunate accident involving a mud puddle and a gust of wind. So no pictures of those until they are washed. But, they original pants from those were free, so that doesn't add a cent to my $4 total.

Gosh, I love being cheap! Don't you?