Sunday, April 29, 2012

A Taffy, and a Question

At the last minute, I finished my Taffy for the Sew Colette challenge! Actually, I must confess: I think of this as a wearable muslin, as I never made one (a first in a long while).

Taffy blouse 2
I did read others' feedback on the pattern, so I made adjustments to the paper pattern before cutting out my fabric. I added an inch to the neckline at the shoulders, tapering to the pattern as written in the centers. I also did my usual removal of 1" at the waist because I'm a shorty.

Taffy blouse 4
All of the fabric for this blouse was left over from the Chantilly dress I made for my brother's wedding. I made my own bias tape, and I'm happy to report that cotton lawn makes a really nice one! It's thin but holds a crease well and hardly adds any bulk to the finish, even though all edges of the bias-bound garment are five layers thick!

Taffy blouse 6
Still, the top didn't fit me very well. The front was fine with only the shoulder width adjustment, but the back? Super baggy. More than just me not doing a swayback adjustment (which would've been a good idea, but I forgot, mostly). I ended up pinning out up to 3" in the center, tapering to nothing at the ends. I like the tailored look here--it kind of reminds me of my Jasmine top, with the center seaming.

Taffy blouse silk
So now, the question. As mentioned, this is my wearable muslin. In fact, way back in January, I bought this sweet blue printed silk charmeuse to use for this blouse specifically - I think I have 2 yards. Instead of making a regular muslin and using the silk, I'm waiting on some fabric stabilizer, which is in the mail but hasn't arrived. This may be a good thing, as I'm not sure this top is for me.

Taffy blouse 5
What do you think, dear reader? Should I make the swayback adjustment to my pattern piece, possibly add a center back seam, and make this top again using the silk? Or should I call it even and use the silk for something else--another Jasmine, perhaps? What say you? I'm leaning toward saving the silk, but could be convinced otherwise...

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

An award, and a skirt

I saw a sweet blog comment this morning from Johanna saying that she'd found me via Rachel at Darling Autodidact, who had given me an award! It seems Rachel has nominated me for a Liebster. Rachel mentions in her post that she had been nominated twice before actually posting about it, and I must say that I've done the same! I was first mentioned by Ronit of Two Hippos a month ago and did nothing about it (shameful!). SO. Here is my appreciation! Thank you to all those fabulous ladies!

According to Ronit, "The award--whose origins are unknown, as best I can tell--is for small blogs and helps spread the word about them." The whole thing feels a little chain-letter-y to me, but I'm happy to present to you five blogs, below, with fewer than 200 subscribers, according to my reader. This should not be so! 
  • A Table in the Shade: Written by Molly, my former assistant who moved away (*sniff* she's legendary, I tell ya) and then found sewing. Her site is gorgeous and her work is impeccable!
  • Summer at Grandma's House: Kris is a really great quilter who uses a ton of color to make really fun stuff!
  • Ice Pink Stars: I just found this blog, run by Allie, who is super cute! She has a great style, some crafty tattoos, and makes some fabulous garments!
  • The Cataloguer: Another new-to-me blog, by Liz, who also makes some fabulous garments!
  • Gather Here: A local (to me) stitch lounge full of crafty people and tons of inspiration!
So there you have it. If you don't know these blogs, please check them out! And, because this post wouldn't be complete without a picture: 
Here's a skirt I whipped up on Sunday. I was in a mood to clear out a bunch of my stash fabric, most of which has already been pre-washed and earmarked for garments that I just never get around to sewing. I Tweeted that I wanted to wipe out a bunch of it with some garments; this is the only thing I actually accomplished. Still, it's AWESOME. I'm calling it my Betty skirt; full photo shoot (plus 2 more versions!) to come...

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Aww, sweet! My aqua Jasmine top (which I'm wearing today!) has been featured in this week's Top of the Tops for Made by Rae's Spring Top Sewalong! I'm so jazzed because there are SO many great and inspiring tops in the sewalong pool on Flickr (305 at this very moment!) so I am floored to be included, especially in this week's group! Hop on over to Rae's blog to vote for your favorite here!

I finished another top last weekend and hope to get it posted soon. I've been a little busy, though, sending out my first ever order from my shop on Etsy! Thanks, Rita!

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Jasmine top in teal

Jasmine teal 1
I finally have a top finished that I can enter in the Made by Rae Spring Top Sewalong! This is the Colette Patterns Jasmine blouse, version 1 but with the shorter ties from version 2, sewn up in a loosely woven cotton lawn. It photographs a lot more blue, but is actually a teal color with bright white flowers.

Jasmine teal 2
Here I am wearing it with my Meringue skirt, which gets a lot more wear than I initially thought it would! The blouse is completely cut on the bias, which gives it this lovely silhouette and also means no closures! Yay!

Jasmine teal 4
Bias also means that the seams were a pain in the butt to sew with a loose weave. I think my fabric choice for this top made everything a lot more difficult than it needed to be. I ended up with a weird ripple / bump in the top of the center back seam that took me three tries to fix. Also: even after letting this top "settle" on the hanger for nearly a week before hemming it, the hem is still a mess.

Jasmine teal 5
So, tucked in it is! The only change I made to the pattern this time around was to shorten the length at the shorten line by 1". (You really can't just take length off the bottom of this pattern because it is shape-skimming.) No FBA necessary. Yay! I also used a skinny ribbon for the collar loop because making one from the pattern piece I'd cut seemed impossibly small. I think for my next try I will increase the circumference of the cuffs by a tiny bit, as they're a little snug going over my elbows.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Okay, world....

Introducing: Kitty Kitty Crafts, my shop on Etsy. It's live! It's open! It's ready for business! You can also "like" the page on facebook by clicking HERE, and/or join my mailing list by entering your email address in the box to the left.

This has been many many many months in the works, but I am a full-on sole proprietor, with a DBA and a business banking account and an EIN and so many official things! I think I'm ready, world, to send you cuteness (in hippo form).

Monday, April 9, 2012

Little birds in flight

little bird mobile 5 
This birdie mobile, above, was made for some sweet friends having a baby! The pattern for all the birds is Abby Glassenberg's "Little Bird in Flight", which is a free download / tutorial on her site. It is awesome. The birds are gorgeous; I mean, check out those wings!

little bird mobile 2 
I hung the birds from really strong fishline, so they have a ton of movement. I tied them to an embroidery hoop, then covered the outside in some ricrac to hide the threads. I think it has a cute, almost circus-y, look. 

little bird mobile 1 
All of the felt came from a charm pack from National Nonwovens, purchased at Marketplace Quilts (my LQS). The colors are so vivid and the felt is so high-quality that it's easy to work with! Turning these guys right-side out is no easy feat, and with a lesser felt, would probably cause tears of rage. 

little bird pink 2
This mobile wasn't the first time I made these birds, however. This pink bird was made as a travel companion for my partner-in-craft, Hilary. She's off to a big adventure: quitting her day job to focus on her art! She's beginning an art residency in Colorado, and then...? She has a Kickstarter to help her on her way, and if you support her you get art in return! She's already funded (!!), but if you want to help her buy even more art supplies, click here. Best wishes and safe travels, friend! May this pink bird of happiness lead you to great things.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Better late than never!

Truffle dress 5 
I am a few days late with this finish of the Colette Sewing Handbook Truffle Dress for the Sew Colette sew-along, but let me tell you: it was worth it.

Truffle dress back 1
Before I even stitched up my muslin for this dress, I made all of the adjustments I had made to my Pastille Dress, except for a few random adjustments to the back bodice, to the pattern pieces. Then I stitched up my muslin and--miracle of miracles! It nearly fit! In fact, the front fit perfectly (!!) and the back fit perfectly, too, until about 5" up from the waistline. I am coming to terms with the fact that my back is narrower and shorter than Colette Patterns are meant for, so I went two more rounds to perfect the back so that it was nicely tailored. That is the piece that threw me off schedule to meet the sew-along deadline. (And the hem really is straight; I am just standing with my hips canted in this photo!)

Truffle dress 4
Here's a side shot, where you can see the drape a little better. Because of the print, it kind of disappears into the fabric, but there's movement when I walk, which is very sweet. The fabric I used is a gorgeously soft and drapey rayon poplin. I scored mine at a fabric store in Portland, Maine last summer, but some is still available here (on clearance!) It was my first time working with something like this, and I think I did pretty okay. I cut the fabric with paper underneath, to reduce the slipperiness, and I made sure everything was on grain before cutting.

Truffle dress 1
The bodice is lined with an electric blue quilting-weight cotton, which really did the trick! It's structured and the bodice looks extra smooth, where it would sag slightly if unlined. Because the rayon is so drapey, though, it kept sliding off the table, ironing board, sewing desk... The neckline gapes a little, probably because it could've benefited from some stay-stitching right off the bat.

Truffle dress 3
I love everything about this dress: the shape, the feel, even the skirt drape, which I wasn't crazy about but decided to include because I think Sarai knows what she's doing! I would like to make another in a crisper fabric, more like the example in the book. And then I'd like to make one without the drape, maybe with a fuller skirt (with pleats at the waist?), or maybe another using the skirt pattern from the Pastille dress instead... I dare say, it may be the summer of the Truffle for me!