Thursday, April 28, 2011

Pattern re-write: Simplicity 2250 lining

Pattern instructions are quite inscrutable sometimes. Often, looking at the diagrams works better than deciphering the instructions. Before I started sewing this last dress, I checked out pattern reviews to see if there were any tricks to it. Of the eight reviews, five mentioned problems with the lining; most just scrapped it and left the interlining as is.

So, for my pattern reviewing friends and any others who want to make Simplicity 2250, a brief lining tutorial:
*Note: I found the lining pattern was a bit short, so I added 2" to the bottom of each piece.

1. Pin straps to the front of the bodice. This ensures they won't get caught in the stitching accidentally (I'm not the only one who's done something like that, right?)

2. Flip over the casing so the raw edges are on the top. You'll only need a few pins to help it stay put.

3. Right sides together, line up bodice and lining. Make sure to match the centers! Stitch along seam allowance.

4. Optional - To top-stitch the lining, just turn your lining to the inside, keeping the main bodice pressed out. Stitch just below the new seam using small stitches.

And you're done! This is a pretty common lining technique - I used it on another dress, attaching the lining to the neckband facing. I have to say, I love linings - they make the finished garment feel so luxe and it just looks so professional. So happy linings to you, friends, til we meet again!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

New Dress Tuesday: Simplicity 2250

It's done!  I've been working on this dress off and on for about a month - I just haven't had much time for sewing, but I had to finish because I'm dying to wear this dress!
I fell in love with this Cynthia Rowley pattern as soon as I saw it and I was so excited when the fabric came in the mail.  It's from Mood and it's perfect: kind of 60s, but kind of modern pixel-y and the prettiest salmon color.  I really like it with this pattern - I think it works with all the tucks and pleats in the bodice.

The bodice is a bit tricky as far as fitting goes.  There are about three darts on each side, each in a different length.  I had a hard time adjusting it down to fit, but it ended up fitting pretty well.  Definitely make a muslin of the bodice if you want to try this pattern!

The bodice has an interlining and a lining as well - I used a coordinating china silk and I love the finished look it gives the dress.  The pattern instructions for the lining aren't well-written, so I'm going to do a tutorial for it, if you're interested in making this dress.
Also, I used horsehair braid on the hem!  I've been wanting to try it since I read Gertie's tutorial and I love the effect on a fullish skirt like this.  The skirt is a gathered and pleated rectangle skirt, so the horsehair braid really helps the skirt "float" instead of just hang.  I'm really happy with the way the whole dress turned out - I've already worn it twice and can't wait to wear it again!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter!

Today is the first warmish, "springy" day we've had all year - a perfect Easter Sunday. I went to my parent's ward this morning - I really enjoyed the talks in church today and it was fun to see both my parents in the choir (yes, my mom finally succeeded in getting Dad to join the choir!).

I have to say, though, the lack of Easter bonnets was a bit of a disappointment. In my day as a Primary girl, we got fancied up on Easter! Here is me and my sister, Easter 1988:
I was a terrible ham when I was a kid (and, okay, I still am).

I don't remember this outfit, but I'm loving my dress. Gingham with a strawberry half-pinafore? Yes, please!  I love my sister's dress, too, with it's ice cream colors and tiny embroidered ice cream cone.  And, of course, most importantly, we are wearing hats!  Here we are, two years later:
Here, Amy (3) and I (5) are demonstrating that we are sooooooo big.
This is the Easter outfit I remember most: frilly and pastel with a fancy purse. I loved my Easter purse - it was the one time in the whole year that I got to bring crayons to church! (Even though I loved my pretty yellow purse, I was secretly jealous that my sister got the pink one!)

Hope your Easter was wonderful and filled with family, happiness, and love!

Saturday, April 23, 2011

TV Style: Lemonade Mouth

I am not above the Disney Channel.  I know I'm too old for it, but I will watch Wizards of Waverly Place like an obsessed 12-year-old.  Also, Disney Channel Original Movies.

Both places are were I found myself loving the way they dress Bridgit Mendler, a dimpled cutie-pie Disney Channel blonde.  I even bought a skirt similar to one she wore in Wizards of Waverly Place. I am 26 years old.
However, I did not buy the wings or vampire teeth.
In the newest Disney Channel Original Movie, Lemonade Mouth, I decided I covet her outfits.  They are so super-girly cute, in a dress-with-cowboy-boots kind of way.  Observe:

This was my favorite outfit from the movie.

 Seriously, super-cute, right? Is it wrong that I'm totally in love with the fashion on a Disney Channel Original Movie?

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Book Report: The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets

I wouldn't be me if I wasn't drawn in by this cover: give me girls in colorful 50s gowns and gloves, telling secrets as the title suggests and I'm there!

And while the cover fits, there's a lot more to The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets than fashion and gossip.  Set in 1950s England, it's about being part of the generation that were only children when the war ended.  Our narrator, Penelope Wallace, is young, "six foot with my shoes on," and lives with her beautiful mother and teddy boy brother in a grand house that fell into disrepair during the war.  Penelope is level-headed and somewhat unadventurous, but like many teenage girls, she's obsessed with the singer Johnnie Ray.

After a chance invitation to tea at a bus stop, Penelope befriends the spunky Charlotte Ferris and Pen's quiet life changes for good.  Charlotte is outgoing, spirited, and totally loveable; the girls share a love of Johnnie Ray and quickly become best friends.  Charlotte introduces Penelope to her cousin Harry.  Soon after their meeting, Penelope finds herself agreeing to accompany Harry to a party to make his ex-girlfriend jealous.  But will their friendship remain just friendship?

The book focuses on Penelope's family, also, which I found lovely.  After a dreaded "duck supper," Penelope and her brother Inigo learn that the family is broke and that their ancient, grand house, Magna, won't be restored to it's former grandeur.  Their young mother, married at 17 and a widow at 23, hesitates to even speak to another man (even a charming and handsome American who's very interested and very rich!).  Inigo, her little brother, is getting in trouble at boarding school for listening to rock and roll on the radio; after receiving a record from his American uncle, Inigo cultivates a growing obsession with a new American singer, Elvis Presley, and hopes to make his living as a musician.

That's about the full cast (though I neglected to mention the fabulous Aunt Clare, Harry's mother).  There are so many things to like about the plot, which has a sweet romance, but also focuses on Penelope and Charlotte's best friendship and the Wallace family's struggles living in Magna.  Much of the book is about the changes in post-war England: Charlotte plans on designing and selling clothes in her own shop, Inigo wants to move to America to become a musician, Mrs. Wallace overcomes her resistance to Americans, and Penelope is allowed to fall for someone who isn't rich.

It's a simple book and a quick read, but there's a lot to think about and enjoy inside.  If you're looking for a sweet book with a little romance, The Lost Art of Keeping Secrets is a great choice!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

That's what you get for making whoopie (pie)!

I'm an unashamed Top Chef lover - I even watch the Masters seasons.  More to the point, I watched the horror show that was Top Chef Just Desserts without diminishing my love for this series.  TC: Just Desserts was the kind of high emotional drama that TC: Original Recipe avoids.  Just Desserts left me with a greater appreciation for the original series and with a deep curiosity about "whoopie pies".

I had to google whoopie pie, which turns out to be what I know as "homemade Oreos," surely a Utah-phenism* - see post title for possible scandal.

*Other dessert-related Utah-phenism: Better Than [Robert Redford] Cake

I found a really straightforward recipe on the Omnomicon blog - it was perfect for this last Sunday, when we didn't have much in the house.  All you need are the basics: flour, cocoa, shortening (loads of shortening), milk, ect. 

I learned that it really helps if you have one of those neat-o cookie scooper things.  Otherwise, your cookies turn out like this:

HUGE!  They ended up being about 3-4" in diameter, instead of a dainty 1.5"!  To solve the size issue, I used a small glass as a guide and cut each cookie individually.
This is my scary "I have a knife!" face
The creme filling is crazy - half cup margarine, half cup shortening!  Some other things, too, but holy fattening delicious.
Yes, ladies, he's single!  My little brother, who helped with the cookie batter.

Finished product: turned out pretty yummy, but I only got through one - they are RICH!  I'll make them again, but only after I get a cookie scooper gadget thing.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Not gone for good

I've not disappeared, I've just been working more and haven't had as much time for the old blog.  However, I miss doing my cover judging and I've got a few sewing projects to discuss, so I'll be around. 

In the meantime, please enjoy the following pretty 60s pictures: