Wednesday, August 26, 2015

The #YouMayNowSmithTheBride Wedding Roundup

As I may have hinted at before, in my handmade undies post, one of my oldest and dearest friends got married this year. As such, I have spared no expense in wedding gifts.

Beware: this is a very very long post. I have a lot to say, haha.

Let's have a look, starting with the biggest and baddest of them all:

The quilt.

Kelly&Ross Quilt

Oh, the quilt. This is the first quilt I have ever made! I'm apparently an ambitious idiot. I made a queen sized quilt for my first quilt and quilted it on a standard home machine. In the above picture my mom and sister are standing on extra tall bar stools with arms stretched way out above their heads and to the sides and the quilt is still touching the ground, that's a massive quilt!

It took me about 2 solid months to finish this quilt, but that includes a whole week of staying up into the wee hours sewing.

I found this quilt on Pinterest that She Can Quilt made, and I thought it was the perfect first quilt pattern especially since the bride requested blues (so vague). I ended up at JoAnn pulling out all the blue quilting cottons trying to find 12 different blues that go together. It was harder than you think. There's a whole wall of quilting cottons and yet somehow, they don't all mesh. I ended up with 7 different fabrics with grays thrown into the mix, plus 2 patterned whites.

I used Craftsy's Magic 8 method for making all the HSTs which made everything pretty quick.



And to make it extra special, I added some machine embroidery with their names and their wedding date to the bottom left corner square. I'm lucky that my mom was able to do the machine embroidery for me on a piece of the white fabric and then I stitched it onto my quilt top instead of having the embroidery done directly onto the quilt top.

Kelly&Ross Wedding Quilt

The mitered corners on the binding turned out pretty well using this tutorial from Merriment Design. I had made the strips in straight of grain but had ironed them like double fold bias tape. The white was left over from the quilt top, and I like the crisp finish it adds.

Kelly&Ross Quilt

What's this? Adorable kitty cat sitting outside my door? Boyfriend and I were attempting to take pictures of the quilt in the walkway outside my house, and my favorite neighborhood cat was hanging around. While we were occupied taking pictures, kitty darted inside the slightly ajar door to the house, but she came back out when I went in there to see where she had gone. I wish I could keep her forever, she so so sweet :)

A Friendly Visitor

The piecing together of the quilt top went fairly smoothly, but when I got to the quilting, that's when I had a major meltdown.

A photo posted by @laura.isasif on


I used a queen size microfiber sheet for the backing, but as you can see, I had major problems with it shifting and getting bunched up while I was quilting. I bought one of those precut queen sized batting rolls from JoAnn, but I didn't have any safety pins, so I pinned it with straight pins which was a huge mistake. Having to roll it up to fit under the arm of the machine meant I basically needed a chain suit to prevent from getting poked all the time. I quilted it like She Can Quilt did by following the outside of the squares in the depression block style. I tried to do three lines of quilting, too, but I only had time to do one line of quilting due to serious set backs from unpicking bad quilting. I wasted at least 2 spools of thread attempting to quilt this damn thing. I stayed up until at least 3 am every night the week before the bridal shower to finish this quilt, but I did get it done by the deadline.

I had to gift wrap the top and bottom of a copy paper box because it was the only thing big enough to contain this quilt. Now that I've gone to a bridal shower, I've become initiated in the cult of bridal shower etiquette, and so there was a massive amount of ribbon on the box.


As an extra little something, I personalized this bamboo cutting board for the bridal shower too. My mom found this cute turtle shaped bamboo cutting board at TJMaxx I think, so I used my newest toy (the wood burning pen, see examples 1, 2) to add their names.

Kelly&Ross Woodburned Cutting Board

I practiced drawing out my letters in a few different ways, and then I used the calligraphy tip to burn the letters into the board. Bamboo is pretty tough to burn, but hopefully, it doesn't look too choppy.

Kelly&Ross Woodburned Cutting Board

And here's just a couple of pictures from the picturesque wedding. This was the golf course/resort that the ceremony and reception were held at. The ceremony was set up just to the left of the shot (and my brother had to clean up the rose petals off the grass by hand after the ceremony was over :) haha) We were really high up in the mountains in Keystone, Colorado, about two hours west of Denver, probably about 10,000 ft elevation.

Keystone Ranch

And we stayed in a really lovely condo just a short drive away from the venue. This was the view just outside the window. Kind of unreal!

Keystone, CO

I just love that the flowers were blooming even in the middle of summer.

Keystone, CO


Lessons were learned in the making of my first quilt!
Namely,
1. Everything takes longer than you think. Especially because you have to give yourself time to mess up two or three times.
2. Taping down the back of the quilt and basting it all together with safety pins is a very good idea. Bad things happen when you don't.
3.  Do not choose a queen size quilt for your first quilt. Just don't. Unless you happen to be very ambitious like I was.
4. Don't forget to buy fabric for the binding! Especially if you're not working off of a pattern that reminds you about this. Fortunately, I had enough leftover from the quilt top.

Obviously if you've made it this far through the blog post, I haven't lied to you about how difficult it was. Because it was. It was very very hard. I may have cried a few times. It was worth it though. In the end, I was very pleased with how the quilt turned out.

Since it was so time consuming though, I don't foresee too many more quilts in my future. Finally, a hobby I don't love ;) I keep telling people, "This is not a relaxing hobby!!"

If I've left anything out that you want to know about the construction, ask me! I've started to forget every little thing I wanted to mention here, but I'm happy to answer any questions! I'm also here for moral support should you decide to tackle quilting :)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

Kirsten Kimono Tee in Paso Robles

You'll remember that I have gone to my first bachelorette party recently-ish in June. Exhibit A) Lingerie. There was also a strong suggestion that we all wear brightly colored clothes while the bride-to-be wore white so we could get a good photo I guess. Aaand since my wardrobe is mostly gray, white, or crazy prints, (and I can't leave well enough alone) I decided I needed a brightly colored shirt or dress in a solid.

I settled on the easy Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark since it seemed fairly quick and easy. No setting in sleeves! The pattern is free, which yay!, you just have to sign up for her newsletter.

I made my first knit garment! It was surprisingly painless!

Kirsten Kimono Tee

Isn't this covered bridge fabulous? I paired my new colorful tee with a white Express skirt obtained secondhand from a friend of my mother's. Side note about this skirt: Brand new with tags on, and the first time I washed it (granted the tag did say dry clean only) the hem fell out. I had to catch stitch the hem back before I could wear it, but it just goes to show you how shoddily made fast fashion is - even from what I would consider a somewhat nicer brand like Express.

Kirsten Kimono Tee

I didn't have time to go to the fabric store before I needed to leave for the weekend, so I had to stash dive for something suitable. I had some dark gray, dark purple, and mostly white florals in the stash, how surprising. Fortunately, I had somewhat recently picked up some mystery knits from an estate sale, and there were definitely some bright jewels in the mix.



Kirsten Kimono Tee

Yay for first time twin needling success! All my hems look so much nicer with the twin needle. I just used a single fold hem and left the edges raw inside.

Kirsten Kimono Tee

A tried a bound neckline using this tutorial from Megan Nielsen, and I think it looks pretty good! It's a little thick due to my fabric, but it's nice. I got some skipped stitches with the twin needle, but I'm not sure how to fix it.

Kirsten Kimono Tee

Here's the inside of my neckline. Everything is nicely enclosed, I do wish I had used a matching thread instead of white though.

Kirsten Kimono Tee

Details:
Pattern: Kirsten Kimono Tee from Maria Denmark
Size: XS
Fabric: Mystery knit from estate sale, maybe ~1 yard
Notions: ball point needle and twin needle
Size Alterations: None
Design Changes: None
Techniques used: Bound neckline
Construction Notes: The pattern instructions are quite good and this is an easy pattern to begin with. I used a straight stitch on the shoulder seams, zig zag on the side seams, and twin needle for all the hemming. I used a ball point needle when I wasn't using the twin needle since it's supposed to help with knits.
Will you make it again? Definitely! Next time, I need to pick a drapey knit instead of the more stable mystery knit I used. It makes the sleeves stand out a little too much instead of falling nicely. I think it will make a good t-shirt dress too with a gathered skirt.
Final thoughts: This was a really easy sew and a great beginner knit pattern. The fabric I used has kind of an athletic feel to it, and I wasn't super impressed with it when I had finished sewing it. It's just a little plain in this solid color I think. It'll have to be dressed up with a good statement necklace or something (which I had intended to borrow from my sister on this trip, but she forgot to pack it). I do have a gray t-shirt knit with great fluid drape that will make a great Kimono Tee in the future.

Now that the technical sewing stuff is out of the way, here's some more pictures from our weekend in Paso Robles.

There was some insanely thick fog outside of Santa Barbara, but then we got high enough in the mountain that the fog instantly cleared. I loved the fog though. It was a crazy long drive between LA and Paso Robles, ugh.

20150612_090013

We visited quite a few wineries on Friday and Saturday, there were quite a few picturesque places even if it was surprisingly windy. Also at the place in the center top, there were so many roaming kitties that let me pet them :)

Paso Robles

The full bachelorette entourage.

ToothandNail

DoverCanyon1

Is this boxer from Dover Canyon not the most adorable thing ever?

DoverCanyon

This was surprisingly one of the rare views of the vineyard. There was a great covered patio overlooking this.

20150612_162551

It was quite a whirlwind weekend, but Paso Robles is quite lovely and quintessential Central Valley.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Handmade Mint "Lingerie"

I sincerely apologize to anyone who may find the contents of this post offensive; however, I press on in the name of sewing! Also, I promise there are no pictures of my giant biking thighs modeling this thing *shudder*.

As you may have seen on my Instagram, I have just recently completed my first pair of hand made underwear!

Back story: I'm going to a bachelorette party this weekend, and the hosts had played this game at previous parties in which all the guests bought a piece of lingerie for the bride-to-be that represents themselves. The game part of this is that the bride will have to match up the lingerie with the person who brought it, and if she gets it wrong, the person is allowed to task her with some dare/command etc. I had no idea what to do about this (what is my spirit lingerie?), so I just went with handmade and hopefully the bride gets what is going on here.

And here's the finished product!

Handmade Mint Undies

Not too shabby for my first attempt, huh? I had initially printed out the free Indigo Orchid bikini pattern, but due to a technical error with the pdf, I didn't have all the pieces properly scaled and couldn't print out another one. So, I hacked up an old pair and drafted my own pattern! I did use the crotch gusset from the pattern since I at least had that piece. I was able to cut all the pieces out of the back of an old t shirt plus a little bit from the front!

I used the instructions from the pattern (found here) to sew these up. Look at that nicely concealed crotch seam :)

Handmade Mint Undies

The lace insert was added also using Indigo Orchid's helpful tutorial. Apparently, the sexy cutout is what makes it "lingerie", so let's go with that. I'll talk more about the lace insert later because I think it's the other special detail that makes it "me".

Handmade Mint Undies

And you can see here how the fabric has been cut away and folded back to make it see through under the lace - a true insert and not just an applique. Also, can I point out my beautiful side seams? Those are french seamed and then top stitched down to make them lay flat and look pretty inside and out.

The elastic was added using Lladybird's very simple and useful tutorial which was probably a better way to go than threading it through a turned down hem due to that screwy portion behind the lace insert. The leg holes are just turned under and stitched, and they're a bit wavy but look fine on the body (I tried them on with my own underwear on also, so they're still clean!)

Handmade Mint Undies

And finally, the lace! I crocheted those little lacy bits with some cotton thread and a teeny tiny hook. I tested out quite a few different stitch patterns before I made up this one myself. Side note: either crochet patterns have gotten harder to read or I have completely lost my touch. I got totally confused on several of them, but in my defense I was looking at a few vintage patterns. I decided to make a pattern that has a nice open stitch so you actually get the full effect of the insert, but it also has a feminine scalloped edge but not too complicated!

Here's the basic idea:
Ch 27.
Row 1: DC into 3rd ch from hook. Ch 1, sk 1, DC 1. Repeat across. Ch 3, turn.
Row 2: 5 DC into 2nd ch sp from Row 1. Sk 1 ch sp for each shell. Repeat across and FO.

I foresee actually making myself more underwear in the future, they're so easy! And I wish my current underwear was a little more low rise, so hopefully this is the solution.

So, tell me, what's your spirit lingerie? ;)

Monday, April 27, 2015

The Graduation Dress

Now, before you all ask me about the title, I made this dress last year for my brother's graduation from high school. I repeat, I am not a proud recent alumna of anywhere.

And yes, it did take me almost an entire year to blog this dress (I made it for a June 2014 graduation), but I have ideas. These ideas usually involve lots of searching for what I think might make the perfect backdrop to complement said dress and what I think those photos should look like. I waited until spring break this year to get this picture because this cool succulent fountain is directly across the street from a bus stop where there are usually at least 50 students waiting for the shuttle. And hell if I'm going to be taking pictures with that many people watching.

Anyways, all that nonsense aside, this is my first lined dress! And third dress ever!

Graduation Dress

I found this neat fabric that is a white cotton with tiny black flocked dots, so fuzzy! It's fun to pet when I'm wearing it :)

Graduation Dress

And the fun back detail! Check out that invisible zipper! Can you believe this is the first time I've ever put one in? Not bad, huh? I did however accidentally pinch a pleat in the skirt so it does look a little funny, just something to remedy for next time. I did have some trouble zipping it up right after I put in the zipper because of all the bulk at the waist seam - invisible zippers are just not that strong. Because there are two lines of stitching I just unpicked a few stitches of the line closer to the teeth at the waist seam (based on internet advice) and it totally worked! You can see it pulls apart a little there revealing the zipper, but it doesn't bother me.

Graduation Dress

The pretty collar! I had to tack it down to the bodice front because it kept flipping up otherwise.

And here's some flat shots:

Graduation Dress Front

I actually used fusible webbing instead of interfacing for the collar because it's what I had on hand, and it seems to be fine. As I mentioned, I just hand tacked the collar in the very center to keep it from doing anything weird.

Graduation Dress Back

Graduation Dress Inside Lining

Here's the inside! Isn't it so clean? I only lined the bodice because I didn't really feel like doing the skirt too so I just wear a half slip underneath since the white is a tiny bit see through. I'm so pleased with how it turned out for my first time lining a bodice. I also french seamed the skirt pieces so the inside of this thing is super neat! Absolutely no messy zigzagged edges like I usually finish a seam with.

Graduation Dress Waist

I had the crazy idea to use a bit of grosgrain ribbon to enclose the raw edge at the waist and also add a bit of stability a la a waist stay. This is two pieces of floral grosgrain ribbon, one one either side and then sewed at both edges. I won't say it's the best idea I ever had because it certainly caused some problems during construction, but it turned out all right.

Details:
Pattern: Prom Perfect from the Peppermint Magazine Sewing School (scroll down to Issue 17 - free!)
Size: Small
Fabric: 1.5 yards of a flocked dot cotton from JoAnn, white poly "posh" lining from JoAnn
Notions: ~22" white invisible zipper, less than 1 spool grosgrain ribbon
Size Alterations: None
Design Changes: Chopped off a ton of length at the hem so that it sits at about 1" above my knee. Not a fan of midis.
Techniques used: Clean finish lining, installing an invisible zipper
Construction Notes: Basically ignored the instructions that come with the pattern and went with the clean finish order of construction. I had way too much bulk at the waist seam so the zipper wasn't zipping the first time around, so I unpicked a few stitches at the waist seam, and I was then able to get the zipper up. Hand sewed the lining to the zipper once it was installed in the fashion fabric because I still can't figure that shit out.
Will you make it again? I'm thinking yes! It's really cute, pretty simple but interesting cut at the same time. I do need to take a SBA on the next version though because my bust darts are looking a little pointy/baggy at the apex. I need to adjust the armscye too because it is a tad tight right now.
Final thoughts: Love this dress! I feel this is very much the style I like: sweet and a little retro/vintage. The fabric pairs perfectly with this pattern, and it's just so wearable!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Lovebirds

I'm on a roll! I'm slowly working through my backlog of photos for the blog which is why you're hearing so much from me lately! I just like to spend my time making instead of fussing with html for blogging :) Also, I'm about to go into quilting hibernation, and I won't come out until those quilts are done! I'll still be on Instagram, but I'll keep the blog quiet so I can knuckle down and get these quilts made before the weddings in July and August :)

And speaking of weddings, here's a cute bridal shower gift I made for my friend when she got married last November (which I kind of still can't believe).

Crocheted Lovebirds

I used the (free!) Cute Bird Pattern by Lisa Auch on Ravelry and you can view my own modifications here.

Crocheted Lovebirds

As you can see, this is not my first time giving nested lovebirds to newlyweds. I'm still on an impractical gift giving kick! (But I did get them something off the registry anyways).

Crocheted Lovebirds

I just used puffy paint for the banner instead of embroidery on this version, which saved me a ton of time. Plus, I'm definitely an embroidery n00b, so my stitches never turn out all that pretty. Let's call it charming.

Crocheted Lovebirds

One last thing, can we talk about how everyone seems to know social conventions about these kinds of things except me?? And when I say "these kinds of things", I'm talking bridal showers, engagement parties, weddings; all things I am expected to know about because I am a ~girl~ apparently. Where are you all learning about these things? Is there a secret "girl basic training" that I forgot to go to??

Well, don't mind me, I'm just going to sit in the corner over here and knit then. I'm planning on bringing my knitting to a bachelorette weekend, is that a huge faux pas?

Monday, April 13, 2015

DIY Woodburned Bamboo Cutting Boards

Whoops! I kind of forgot I didn't talk about these cutting boards yet with my other Christmas gift handmades. 

I bought a set of 3 different sized cutting bamboo cutting boards for about $10 at Ross.  There's not too much to add about these that I haven't already said about the wooden spoons, so I'll let the photos speak for themselves. I used these three pins for the designs, but again, I have just free handed it onto the board with a pencil without tracing.

Woodburned Cutting Board

This one was the smallest board which is why I went with a full floral border. it was almost all done with my fine point tip with some of the small triangle leaves done with the universal tip.

Woodburned Cutting Board

Woodburned Cutting Board

This was the medium sized one, and I used both the fine tip and the flow tip. It seemed a little like there was a waxy residue building up on my fine tip, so watch out for that if you also choose bamboo. How cute is this little bird?

Woodburned Cutting Board

Woodburned Cutting Board

And finally, this was the largest of the three, and the only one that I did in a more seasonal (holiday) design. I think I used the flow point exclusively on this one.

Woodburned Cutting Board

They're almost too pretty to use, but I do hope that their recipients will at least use them to serve cheese or something :)

Woodburning has been a really fun little thing to do and has great wow factor! I think my mom will be enlisting my services to do some more spoons for her sisters this year :)

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fleece Lined Cat Pajamas

I made some super cute, super warm pj pants! I just couldn't pass up this cute kitty print, but what else can you make with flannel but pajamas?

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

I used this tutorial from My Cotton Creations to create some almost adult sized pajama pants.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

And now you see what I mean. I had to include the selvage in order to get things to fit (and even then I had to flatten out the crotch curve). Because flannel comes in ~45" width, I would not recommend using this tutorial to make pants for anyone larger than a size 0 in RTW sizing. Believe the other lady when she says this is for kids. However! I might suggest using a cute printed fleece, those come in 60" widths (I think) and JoAnn has a pretty decent selection. That way you can get away with buying fabric for the length of your legs! This means one cut of ~1.5+ yards instead of 2 cuts.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

Front and back. I copied some pajama pants I own to get the basic shape of the curves, but I needed to flatten out the front curve and add some to the back.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

And a very important visual reminder that was not emphasized enough in the original tutorial (that I did actually forget). Make sure your waistband can stretch! Learn from my mistake! Luckily (unluckily), I am shaped like a flat board, so I can get that waistband over my hips/butt without needing the stretch from the elastic, but it's not as comfy as it could have been.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

My waistband with useless elastic. I tucked the fleece into the fold of the waistband and then folded under the flannel so it makes a pretty seam.

And here are some more insides shots in which you can see the fleece lining. This is just your basic anti-pill blizzard fleece, nothing fancy. I underlined the flannel with the fleece which means my seams are still sticking out, but it's not that bad since there's only 3 seams. To finish the seams, for the flannel's sake, I trimmed the flannel so it was enclosed within the fleece in the seam and then just sewed it up since fleece doesn't fray. Easy!

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

The inseam is one looong seam from cuff to cuff.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

And the cuffs, same deal with the waistband with strategic tucking and folding. Turned under twice and top stitched down.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

Ahh, the perfect length, just grazing the tops of my feet. Usually, I have to roll my pants up at the waist so they're not crazy long.


Details:
Pattern:  Tutorial from My Cotton Creations
Size: Based off a RTW pair I own
Fabric: 1.5 yards of snuggle flannel and 1/5 yards of anti-pill blizzard fleece
Notions: 1/5" wide elastic
Construction Notes: As mentioned above, don't make the same crotch curve for the front and back, copy the back curve from your other pair, and flatten out the front so it's more of a slanted line than a real J.
Will you make it again? Maybe. While I really only need one pair of kitty pajama pants, I would like to have a pair that fit better. And in my infinite wisdom, I already have flannel and fleece for another pair. However, I may try another pattern.
Final thoughts: Yay kitty pants! These things are fun, don't include upside down prints (grr cheap RTW), and are crazy warm thanks to the fleece. In fact, when I was in Philadelphia, I would wear these around the house at night and actually get too hot and have to change into some shorts instead.

And I'll leave you with this hilarious outtake/really bad posing.

Flannel and Fleece Cat Pajamas

Oh pants, you're so funny.