Saturday, December 10, 2011

Simplicity 2245 Lisette Portfolio Dress

Last month, my husband and I went to Barcelona, Spain, for a holiday.  We had a wonderful time visiting the beautiful city, seeing the sights, hearing about the history and of course, meeting some wonderful people!

In preparation for the trip, I needed a new traveling dress.  When I travel, I like to have a dress that is easy care, comfortable and has a good sized pocket or two, in order to hold my passport and boarding passes.  In doing research on Barcelona, we kept coming across lots of advice about pick pocketers.  With that information fresh on our minds, I decided it would be best to have a 'secret' pocket in my traveling dress.  Though the name of this pattern is "Portfolio", I needed something for my passport, so this was my "Passport" dress.

For the fabric, I chose to use a Ponte de Roma knit.  The content of this particular Ponte is a large portion of polyester (which I usually avoid), along with rayon and a small bit of lycra.  This is what I would term as a stable knit.  Some stretch, but not too much.  Other than the polyester part of the fabric not wanting to take a pressing very well, I enjoyed working with the fabric. 

I made a few changes to the pattern:

-secret pocket
-invisible zipper
-3.5" added to length

For my secret pocket I added a zippered, welt pocket.  It was placed a little below the main pocket, so that it would be hidden out of sight.  It was perfect for holding my passport, credit card and money close to my body. It stayed in place, as I anchored it down by tacking it to the seam allowances of the other pocket.

Sometimes I do not want to put a dress on over my head, I want to step into it.  In order to have the option to do that with this dress, I added an invisible zipper up the back and into the neckline.  I really enjoyed being able to step into the dress. :)

This dress as designed, is of the more modern fashionable style, which is much too short for my liking.  I decided to add 3.5" to the length and only took a 5/8" hem and stitched it down with a double needle.

The other change I made to the pattern is the neckline.  I was afraid the dress would be too close to my throat, so what I did was used a size about 4 sizes down for the neckline giving me more of a scoop and lower neckline.

I chose not to take out any ease in the pattern, though there is quite a bit.  I knew I would want to be belting the dress and the dress would probably look better with the ease.  

I have another one of these dresses in the works, it's just not finished.  I have the piping on, the secret pocket added, and most of the fiddly work for the changes I have made, finished.  I have set it aside for now to tend to other more important sewing. :)  I was able to cut this second one with the lower portion of the longer sleeve as one with the main body since I am using wide fabric.  I am hoping this will eliminate the twisting that seems to happen when the lower portion of the sleeve gets added to the upper sleeve.

This truly is a great pattern and fun to make. The design of the pockets are wonderful!

I can see this, with some alterations, used as a wonderful maternity dress or tunic.  Again, with some alterations, you could make a wonderful nursing dress/top, too.


Friday, November 11, 2011

More Bag Talk

Originally posted on Sunday, March 8, 2009

More bag talk!

To begin with, I want to say how I do not want to pay for cloth shopping bags that require me to promote a particular store.  If they want to pay me, or for my bags, then I will sport their sign, but please, do not ask me to purchase their bags so that I can advertise for them.  I believe they have it backwards.   I don't mind the Lands' End bag, as it's a very tiny little tag that is easy to miss.  The other bags though, I would rather not wear their logo and names on my bags, unless they want to pay for my bags.

OK, as you can see here, there is an assortment of bags.  I made the mistake of purchasing the Costco bags.  They were folded up and packaged together, so I could not see how big the bags were, before purchasing them.  Not only that, I couldn't see how awful the handles were.  They attempted to give you options on your handles.  You could have the longer ones or the short ones, depending on your needs.  However, when you have bags that large, neither are great handles.  Worse yet, the size of the bags is ridiculously large you can't carry anything in there, unless it's light weight.  The fabric the bags is made from is not great, some kind of plastic cloth and the stitching wears out quickly.  The handles, because there are four of them, get tangled when trying to grab just one set.  It did come in handy for putting purchases in it for Christmas time or birthdays, then I could sneak things into the house, but the bags are just not practical on any level, in my opinion.

These two black bags are from grocery stores.  They are made from that recycled stuff and they feel yucky and they are not all that strong.  The Safeway bag has two loops on them, which are suppose to help keep the back on the hook while you fill your bag, but unfortunately, it doesn't work...says my son who occasionally still bags groceries. ;)   He ends up turning the bag, side ways, so he can fill it more easily.  I decided to wash the bags, to see how they stand up.  Well, the lettering on the Safeway bag is coming off, just after one wash.  The Super Store bag has a plastic coated decal on it and as you can see, it's wearing off and cracking after one wash.  The good news to that is their advertisement is wearing off, but it makes me wonder how the whole bag is going to stand up to use.

Here is a picture to show you one of my red ripstop nylon bags, next to the store black bags.  The bottom corners are squared on the red bag, but it does not stand on it's own, unless you put something in the bottom of the bag, which makes it easy for storing the bags, and easier on the bag stands for the clerks.

Next, I wanted to show you a fun bag my sister made for us gals for carrying our things at the Sew Expo.  It's one of those fun bags you can wear on your back, shoulder or on your front.  It's a great drawstring bag and we were very happy to have them to help carry our purchases and class papers and projects.  These are great bags for so many things, just not great for grocery shopping, unless it's a small order.

I had to laugh at my experience at the grocery store, the other day.  I had all my bags, nicely ready for being packed.  I carefully handed them to the clerk so she could put them on the bag stand and she ignored them.  She took them from me and tossed them to the courtesy clerk, not wanting to deal with them.  We are going to have to work hard at educating the clerks how to use the bags.  Unfortunately, without a *standard* for cloth bags, clerks will be irritated when it comes to packing groceries in cloth bags that are not uniform to their plastic bags.  Oh well, we can keep trying!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Cloth Shopping Bags

This post was originally posted in March of 2009.  I am re-posting this in my new blog, since this was linked to by many other bloggers who had appreciated the information.  Since I first posted this, some stores have completely eliminated plastic bags as an option. HERE is a link to an article that has a list of cities and places around the world where plastic bags have been banned.

I had another posting on reusable bags which I will post again as well.

I will also add a post on cloth gift bags, which we have used for a good 21 years.

Wednesday, 04 March 2009

Cloth Shopping Bags


I am so sorry for the long, overdue, post on cloth shopping bags.  My daughter told me some time ago, I needed to update, so here is the first update on my blog, cloth shopping bags.

First, I want to say, I don’t have all the answers.   A few people have expressed interest in this topic, and I want to share what I have learned along the way, but I do not, by any means, have it all worked out.  I do have thoughts on the subject since we have been using these bags for about 19 years, and since our sons have both worked at grocery stores, I have had time to ponder the improvements of cloth shopping bags.  I thought I could give you some things to consider if you are wanting to move to the route of cloth grocery bags. I also want to note that I did not make these bags, but they are very easy to make.  They are made of outdoor fabric, ripstop nylon.  They wash up easily and I hang them to dry.  If you want to know dimensions and such, just drop me a note and if there is enough interest, I will be happy to give all the particulars on how to reproduce this bag.

Things to consider when choosing to purchase or make cloth shopping bags. 

-         Take into consideration who will be carrying these bags.  Will there be small children, medium sized children, big children or adults carrying these bags? 
-         What types of things you will be purchasing, should help to dictate the type of bag you want to bring with you.  Groceries, books, jars, canned goods, etc.
-         What type of food items will go into what types of bags. 
-         If you are purchasing meat, you will need to wash your bags so as to not cause cross contamination with other goods, as well as causing the bags to stink.
-         Are you packing your own groceries or will the clerk be packing them for you?  This makes a difference as to how the bags are handled.
-         If a clerk will be handling the bags, do they have a ‘bag stand’ for the bags?  If so, you will want to take that into consideration with what bags you will be using.  With the elimination of plastic bags, they may bring in other ‘bag stands’, but until that point in time, we should work with what they have now, and what clerks find work best for them to get their work done quickly and efficiently.
-         Fabric you want to make for your bags.  What you will be carrying in your bags and how easy it is to wash them should help dictate the fabric you choose to make these bags. 

Handles for your bags are very important.  If you get too large of a handle/handles, it will make it impossible to carry your bags for little people.  Also, if the bag is full of heavy items, it will make it impossible to carry.  Having two, shorter handles, verses one long handle, is a much better option when carting groceries.  A shoulder sized handle is better suited for light weight items, clothing, shoes, etc. and some books, but they don’t work very well for carting groceries.  If you are like me, and you like your little people to help bring in the groceries, you want to make the process as easy and pleasurable for them as possible.  Realistically, our family has been using cardboard boxes and crates, more than the cloth bags, since the bulk of my shopping is now done at Costco.  However, my handy red cloth bags are still my favorite grocery bag.

When traveling to other countries, in particular, make sure you bring your cloth bags with you for carting around your treasures.  This is where I find the longer handles/shoulder handles come in handy.  You can put your newly purchased books in there, put your extra sweater, lunch, water bottle and map in there as well, while you walk and walk and walk.

Happy cloth bag shopping!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

War of 1812 Bicentennial Article From Macleans Magazine

HERE is a link to the MACLEANS Magazine that talks about the War of 1812 from a Canadian perspective.  Well worth the read, especially for my fellow Americans.

Growing up in Washington State, I do not recall learning about the War of 1812 in my US History class.  I vaguely remember learning the date of the war in a list of wars, but that was about it.  That was many moons ago, I am wondering if that has changed in the public schools since I was once in it.

As one who enjoys sewing and wearing clothing of the 1812 era, I thought this was an appropriate article for people to read.   I am hoping to find an event that I can go to, all dressed up.


Monday, October 17, 2011

Fall Pictures

Since Merissa had recently gotten back from her last photography course, I thought it would be nice if she could do fall pictures of the children for me. :)  These pictures were taken about 3 weeks ago, while we still had warm fall weather.

Olivia is wearing her Jump Rope dress that I made to match the boys' Western wear shirts.

It was fun to see the pictures once Merissa was done editing them.  Dear Samuel was being his mischievous self, giving his sister a little extra work, but they all had a wonderful time in the process. :)

I delighted in seeing the final product. :)  Memories captured for years to come...always precious!

Thank you, Merissa!  Love you!



Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Fancy Dress Stitching Time

Fancy dress and fun!  My daughter's dear friend was married this past weekend and she needed a new dress.  The dress that had been ordered wasn't quite up to the job, so I had the pleasure of trying to make a dress, inspired by the purchased dress.

When making your own dress, you get the pleasure of choosing what types of fabrics you would like to use.  I was able to find a lovely shade of purple (wedding colour) in silk crepe de chine.  I confess, I did not like working with that slippery silk.  I usually like to work with silk, but this was not one of those times. :)  I was fortunate to find a lovely black, embroidered lace fabric that was well weighted with the boarder design.  It gave the lace fabric a lovely, lovely drape. 

When finished, it was as if I made this dress 4 times. First there was the mock up, then there were the three layers.  You have the full lining, silk fabric and lace fabric, which all needed to be hemmed, except the mock up.

I stretched myself with learning some new skills.  I have made two corsets in the past, but this was my first corselette.  I made sure to study up on it as much as I could, as well as getting great advice from Dawn Luckham on the boning for the corselette.    I also used Dawn's wonderful tutorial on how to cut and tip boning.  The boning I have used in the past I just measured and purchased already cut and tipped bones.  Not knowing what this project was going to be like, I needed to have the freedom to make bones as needed and time was short, so learning to do my own was great!

The corselette was made from cotton batiste and cotton/poly drill.  The batiste was closest to the body and the drill was the outer layer.  By lining the corselette, I was able to make boning channels by stitching the two layers together, where needed.  You can see my chalk lines drawn all over the corselette as well as the waist stay pinned.  The back closure is a separating zipper, which was cut down to size, when all was done.

I quickly threw the dress onto the dress form, but it was not set up for Merissa's measurements, so the dress does not sit properly on it, but that's OK.  I was trying to get placement for the straps I was putting on.  I decided to quickly take a couple of pictures.  This was after a very long night of sewing, so the display is not very good...sorry about that.

From this picture you get a good idea of the colours of the fabric.

Here is a picture of Merissa in her new dress, at the wedding.  Unfortunately, you can't see the colours of the dress well, but you get an idea of the fit and more importantly, you see Merissa's wonderful expression, which truly gives a glimps into her beauty. :)


Thursday, August 25, 2011

Western Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress

To match her brothers' Western Wear, Olivia now has a beautiful western style dress, made from the Oliver + S Jump Rope Pattern.

I had to grade up the pattern and took it up to about a size 12, which is a tad too big for Olivia at the moment, but I am sure it won't take long at the rate she is growing, to have this fitting her properly. :)

I did make some changes to the pattern, but the main was to lengthen the placket, based on reviews of the pattern and how tight the dress was to get over the head. I lengthened the placket by 2", giving me room for another snap. Olivia can get this on over head with ease.

When I graded up the pattern, I started with using the bodice from style B as it had a little more ease to it than style A.

Again, based on reviews of the pattern on the forum, I chose to shorten the belt loops, allowing the belt to stay in place a bit better.
Using my lucet, I made some cording for some piping for the collar.

I really like the looks of this dress and can see making many more from this style for Olivia. The pattern is well written and designed. Making the placket longer I think is a necessary feature, both for comfort and for ease, especially for children who are self dressing. :)

Two thumbs up for this pattern. :)

Sleep well,


Sunday, July 31, 2011

Oliver + S Hopscotch Dress #2

One of the things I like to do when I make a garment for Olivia is to display it on the dress form for when she wakes up. It's fun to see her expressions when she comes up the stairs to see the new dress. :) She appreciates what I make for her and it's always a joy to put together something she appreciates.

The pattern goes together very quickly. This was made from a cotton knit we picked up at Sewing Expo this past march. Olivia really liked the fabric, so we purchased it.

Next time I make this pattern, I am going to do a few different things to it.  I'm not sure when  I will get to that, but in the near future, I hope. :)

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Cowgirl Meets Camo.....Oliver + S

I had some girl camo fabric in my stash and Olivia had been wanting a dress or shirt made from it. We decided to do it now, because her brothers received new camo t-shirts. Using for the first time, the Oliver + S Hopscotch dress pattern, I whipped up a dress for Olivia.

The dress matches Olivia's cowgirl hat, and she put it altogether with her boots. The boots aren't exactly cowgirl style, but they will be a good substitute.

Joel thought Olivia needed a gun for when mummy took here is Olivia hamming it up with a gun. She was being very silly.

The pattern came together very quickly. I am finding that these patterns tend to run a bit smaller from their published 'body' measurement sizing. I bumped Olivia up to the size 12 pattern and it came out perfectly. The length was good for her and the width worked well too. I have another dress cut out in some lovely butterfly fabric. and I am hoping to have that sewn together very soon.

Olivia had another cowgirl hat from earlier in the summer. We decided to purchase it because of the 'breast cancer' logo on it. One and a half years ago, Olivia participated in The Pink & Red Charity Event at Sewing Expo in Puyallup, Washington. Little did we know just how much more our lives would be affected by breast cancer. This past year, from Aug. to Dec., two more sisters were diagnosed with the disease. Life is a precious gift. We are learning to treasure it more each day.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Western Wear

The shirts are finished and the boys are very, very happy.  This was a fun project to do for the boys and I am happy we were able to finish them up before the Stampede was over.  We don't attend the Stampede, but the general attire around the cities and towns is western wear for the full 10 days of the show.  Since we live in red neck country, western wear is acceptable all year long, but at this time of year, more people participate in wearing western wear. :)

I used the Kwik Sew pattern #2274, but I had to grade up the pattern to fit my boys.  I find that at this stage of development, it's hard to find patterns that fit well for boys.  They are the size of small men, but not quite at the height, so the small men's sizes don't really fit them very well.  Grading up a boys pattern works easier for me, than trying to grade down a small men's pattern.

 Here are some closer pictures of the shirt.  You can see the inside collar stand is made from the contrasting fabric.

 The boys really, really like their new shirts and I am happy all went well.  My goal for this year was to work on men's dress style shirts, so I am off to a good start.  I am sure to be making more dress shirts for all my men. I realized there are so many details that various pattern makers put into their patterns.  Choosing which options to use to put the shirts together is difficult, but fun!  I will be trying out the various placket methods and such as I sew up more shirts.

The boys already have another project for me to work on for them.......the research has started and the process has begun.  This will be fun!

Thanks for visiting,