Sunday, October 9, 2011

Sunday Sales

I totally forgot that JoAnn had a 99-cent sale on Simplicity patterns, so I had to make a mad dash out to pick up a few.  I can't seem to pass up a good pattern sale and, of course, I picked up a few other things as well.  When it was all said and done, I saved $185.23 and only spent $36.27.  Man, I love, love, LOVE a good pattern sale!!

In addition to a few notions, here's what I picked up...

2337 - I love the side detail on the grey dress

2512 - Emanne likes the gathered skirt

2603 - I love the versitility of this wrap

2556 - love the notched collar and back of this vest

2153 - had a jacket like this some years ago

2341 - love view A
2508 - love the "white" jacket and sleeves from the "green" one

2072 - Emanne wants to be Sailor Moon for some upcoming comic convention

3782 - I love making historical costumes - got this just because

We also made a run to DSW and picked up a few things on clearance...

Audrey Brooks platforms...

...I LOVE the heel on this shoe

Steve Madden platforms...had my eye on these for some time...need a little buffing
It was an enjoyable afternoon.

Be blessed!!


Friday, October 7, 2011

Kardashian Knock-Off Candidate

A few weeks ago, I mentioned on my Facebook page that I saw a few pieces in the Kardashian Kollection that I liked...much to my surprise!!

One of their items are these leather-look leggings...

...currently on "sale" at

Well, here's the pattern match...McCall's 6404...

...and specifically View C, whose style lines are very similar to the retail version...

I really like these leggings - worn with an appropriate top, of course.  I think I may give them a try...after a few more weeks of Zumba!

Be blessed!!


Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Easy Knock-Off

One of the benefits I love about sewing is being able to recreate - okay, knock off - designer fashions selling in retail strores for a fraction of the price.  And although going to the mall is not one of my favorite activities anymore, it is still a joy of my daughter's and because I love her so, I make the sacrifice to go shopping with her.  The things I do in the name of motherhood, right?

Anyway, on a recent trip to Twelve Oaks mall, I spotted this gray knit dress by London Style at Sears.

London Style dress in the store...

...and the version available online.

I thought it was cute, but it looked so familiar to me...and then I realized why.  It's almost an exact make-up of Butterick 5559.

I wonder if there's a connection between the pattern and the retail version, because the pattern's designer is Maggy London.  I LOVE a good knock-off opportunity, but somehow this just feels too easy.  But, I may try it anyway.

Be blessed!!


Monday, October 3, 2011

Looking for Pattern Storage Nirvana

I mentioned in a previous post that I enjoy seeking improvements in the organization and décor of my Sewing Room, and so both have kept my thoughts preoccupied over the summer.  I shared with you that one of my biggest challenges is storing my collection of sewing patterns and how my storage “system” has gone through an evolutionary process, progressing from a discarded store display cabinet up to the pattern storage boxes I purchased from Hancock Fabrics some years back.  These purchased boxes are working, but the problem I have is they can accommodate “just so many” patterns.

As you can see, I have each one labeled with a pattern category, and some of them are at full capacity – I cannot fit one more pattern into the box!

Storage box at full capacity.
Also, I cannot add another box to the shelves without moving it to another area of the room, which is not ideal.  I am one of those a-place-for-everything-and-everything-in-its-place type people so I need organization for activities like sewing, which rely heavily on quick access to a wide variety of tools and notions.  I’m also somewhat frugal (thank you, Mommy!) and always looking for ways to get a job done for the best possible price – preferably free!  So, I’m often thinking about how this system can be improved.

In May, my family and I went to the Motor City Comic Convention (Comic Con).  If you ever get a chance to attend a Comic Con, I highly recommend doing so.  It’s a fun time, if for no other reason than to people-watch.  While there, I noticed that all of the comic book vendors stored their comics in these really neat lidded boxes.  Some of them were very deep, and I thought “Wow!  This may work for my patterns!”

So, when we returned home, I went online and was able to find a couple of sources for these boxes.  The width and height were perfect, and they were even available in a variety of depths – “COOL!!”  But, my enthusiasm was curbed when I saw the price – they sold for approximately $6 each.  Given the approximate number of boxes I’d need, it would cost me at least $60 to purchase these boxes – way outside of my target price range.

So, I started thinking about how I could create boxes like these, given my specific storage needs and cost demands.  The solution – the cartons which are used to ship printer paper in bulk.

Once the paper is used, these cartons are usually discarded.  My sense of frugality was well satisfied – what’s better than free?  So, after playing around with cutting and pasting, I was able to scale-down the carton size so it could accommodate my patterns and still sit neatly on the shelf with a little over-hang.

The next consideration was decorating the box so it would be visually pleasing and still fit in with any future décor changes I may want to make.  I used some fabric I had on-hand to cover and line the first box, but I realized that it would not be enough to cover all of the boxes I’d need, and the cost to purchase more fabric to cover these boxes didn't seem worth the investment.

Also, I was concerned about the fabric being so dark and the affect it would have on the room’s lighting, not to mention other issues like dust, fading, coordination with future décor choices, etc.  So, I wanted to go with a lighter-colored design choice which still fell in line with my need for minimal cost.

Well, suffice it to say that I could not find a fabric option which met my design and cost needs, so I decided to do a form of decoupage instead.  I found some fabric “art” online and used it to create decorative paper which I printed and glued to the box. 

Isn't "she" pretty?

I also bought a supply of pipe-fitting clamps from Lowe’s which I used as an extremely inexpensive box handle (thanks for this great idea Sew Many Ways), and – Tada!! – I have new pattern storage boxes, each of which can hold approximately 33% more than my Hancock boxes.
I've since added felt to the box to "pretty up" the bottom.
So, I’ll be converting over to my newly developed – and cheap – storage system.  I think I’ve finally achieved pattern storage nirvana!!  Tell me what you think.

Be blessed!


Saturday, October 1, 2011

Party (dress) Animal - Project Complete

Well, here's Baby Girl all decked out in her Homecoming dress.

Of course, Max had to get in the picture!!
It came out very well.  My only concern is the wrinkling immediately under the bodice.  I took careful measurements of BG before cutting, but apparently I didn't leave enough hip room in the dress and it keeps creeping up...not to mention the anti-cling lining I chose for the dress - it provides no "traction" what so ever!!

Baby Girl with BFF

So, should an occasion arise where I'll make this dress again, I will have to keep the hip area in mind.  My girl has some hellava dimensions...but she got them honestly!!

Be blessed!!


P.S.  I learned that a third young lady is wearing a zebra-print dress.  I'm sure I'll be posting a picture of the 3 of them, a la Destiny's Child!!

Party (dress) Animal Update 2

So, last night, I finally get the skirt hem all gathered and attached to the lining, sewed the shimmer velvet ribbon to the the bodice and skirt, and attached the skirt lining to the skirt top.  All that was left was to attach the zipper, tack down the lining and pinch the skirt to the lining.

Ah, but then, a snafu - I had to make an adjustment on one of the skirt panels, which meant I had to ease the seam in that area.  As a result, the invisible zipper would no longer fit evenly in the opening.  So, I went to bed to got a good night's sleep and got up this morning to get another zipper at JoAnn's.

Here's what the dress looks like so far.  The zipper still has to be sewn in, bodice lining attached to the skirt lining and zipper tape, the skirt pinched to create the "poufs" and a good pressing to remove wrinkles.  But, the dress will be ready before the dance starts tonight.

I'll publish a post later today with the finished look.  Thanks for checking out my progress, and please let me know what you think - I look forward to your comments and feedback!

Be blessed!!


Friday, September 30, 2011

Party (dress) Animal Update #1

The dress is progressing well, but now I've hit the most time-consuming and tedious part of the overall construction...gathering the skirt hem and attaching it to the lining hem...I NEED A BREAK!!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

UPDATE: Party (dress) Animal will NOT believe this!!  Baby Girl came home and showed me a picture of her girlfriend's this wild or what?  I'm sure everyone will think this was planned, but it was pure happenstance!!

Party (dress) Animal

I know…I know…it’s been quite some time since my last blog entry, and I apologize for my negligence.  I know you’ve been sitting on the edge of your proverbial seats, thinking to yourselves “I wonder what Aisha’s been doing.  What remarkable new creation will she unveil?  I can’t stand the anticipation!!”  Okay, maybe you weren’t thinking those exact words, but if it’s any consolation please know that I have been sufficiently scolded for my slothfulness – thank you, Denise!!  And while I do admit to being negligent in my blogging, I’ve not abandoned all activities related to Sewing – or Crafts in general – and I will update you on those things which have kept me somewhat busy this past summer.

I have just been commissioned by my exclusive client – my daughter, aka Baby Girl – to create another one-of-a-kind garment, this time for Homecoming.  She so enjoyed wearing the Frou Frou Party Dress that she wanted something similar but with some style variations, of course.  Also, she wanted the dress made from gold metallic with a contrasting bodice from some type of embellished fabric – perhaps sequins or an encrusted organza like the one we used on Frou Frou.  (My first thought – hmm…gold…not gold-colored, but GOLD!!  That will be one memorable dress, to say the least!  She’ll look like an Oscar statue on the famous red carpet!)

As usual, we procrastinated on fabric and notion shopping, but last night we finally made it to our local JoAnn store which occupies a two-story building.  All of the Arts & Crafts merchandise is located on the lower level and fabric and sewing merchandise on the upper level.  We immediately spotted a gold sequined fabric at the top of the stairs which we grabbed on the way towards the other metallic fabrics.  However, once we took a close look at our options and compared the coloring and hand of each fabric, she reconsidered her firm stance on the metallic.  (Whew, dodge a bullet on that one!!)

So instead, Baby Girl had a brainstorm.  “What about animal print!” she declared.  (Oh boy…now animal print?!)  I spotted a grouping of prints and as we walked towards them, she spots this black & white zebra print fabric – rather cute, I must admit.  Then, she has another brainstorm.  ”What about the zebra print for the top and yellow for the skirt?  You know black & white and yellow go together!”  As you can probably guess, I wasn’t a fan of the idea.  Instead of sugar plums, visions of yellow jacket bumble-bees danced in my head.  Maybe it was divine intervention which prevented us from finding just the right shade, but she soon abandoned the yellow-idea in favor of hot pink.

So, we took our bolts of fabric to the table to have yardages cut and then made our way back  downstairs.  But while walking toward the cash registers, I kept thinking we needed to add something to this dress to transition from the print to the solid.  The last thing I wanted was for it to look like it was born from two other unrelated garments – the top from one dress and the skirt from another.  So, back upstairs we go
to find a trim which would add that certain je ne se quoi.

So, here we are.  The zebra print has a slight nap but is lightweight enough to partner with the pink crepe-back satin.  The trim is a velvet-shimmer ribbon which marries these two fabrics perfectly.


I have 2 days to crank this puppy out, but I’m not worried.  Having made a version of this dress before, I am familiar with its challenges and am prepared for them.  In fact, I took more specific measurements of Baby Girl’s problem-fit areas – specifically that back!  I’m even going to make a muslin draft of the bodice and note any adjustments before cutting into the fashion fabric, and have determined how and when to include the trimming to the construction.  I think I’m ready!!  Heck, I may even knock out some coordinating accessories!!

Okay, I am super-excited and maybe the accessories will be a little overkill, but I believe this dress will be G-O-R-G-E-O-U-S!!  I’ll keep you posted… I promise!!

Be blessed!!


Saturday, May 28, 2011

The Frou Frou Finale

Well, the Frou Frou Party Dress is a "fait accompli", and not a moment too soon.  Unlike the Prom Dress, I just had finishing touches to make on the dress, like adding the bow to the shoulder and pressing out the wrinkles.

Here she is trying the dress on before finishing the inside workings.

I must admit, I'm not terribly happy with the horizontal lines running across the overskirt-portion of the dress.  It fit her perfectly yesterday, so I'm not sure what happened today, but it looks like there isn't enough fabric going around her middle.  Unfortunately, I was on a time deadline and couldn't focus on correcting that issue, but I will make the needed adjustments later.  This dress is too cute, and I think she may actually wear it again, so it will be worth the effort.

Here she is all dress and accessorized up...

...and here she is with her girlfriends.  Can you guess which young lady is the Birthday Girl?

Oh, and here's Max...after Emanne descended it, he climbed up and balanced himself on my step.  I promised him that I'll make him something soon - perhaps a rain slicker for those moments he needs to go outside but hesitates doing so because he doesn't want to get wet.

Max, can you say "Bourgeois Bulldog"!!

Be blessed!!


P.S.  I'm going to give myself a break on the dress fit...I just noticed the pattern picture has horizontal lines on the overskirt, too!!  I think our version looks very close to the pattern, don't you?

Friday, May 27, 2011

Fitting Issues

So, I noted yesterday that I only had to make slight adjustments in the waist and hip area of the dress.  I completely forgot the one fitting issue I consistently encounter when making a garment for my daughter, and that's her narrow back.

I remember when I made this dress for her 8th grade promotion, I thought I made some gross error in cutting because there was SO much excess fabric in the back bodice.  To adjust, I added back bodice darts.

But, when I encountered the same problem with the prom dress, I knew it was her and not me.

I tried the Frou Frou Party Dress bodice on her earlier today, and the front fit great, but the back was seriously hanging.  Look at the back seam allowances - I had to take in a total of 6 additional inches so the back can fit properly.

Well, the work continues...I'll check back in later.

Be blessed!!


P.S.  I told you that Max has been hanging out in my Sewing Room, and literally underfoot.  Here he is, lying right under my chair.  I have to watch out for paws, ears and tail before I can roll anywhere.  Oh yeah, and he snores, too!!