for the time being i will keep my old posts here at blogger, but i have imported all content to wordpress. please don't abandon me! to stay updated, head on over to my new space and follow me there. thanks!

—lisa g.

Friday, March 15, 2013

i made the switch!

i have officially imported all my content to my wordpress account and have it looking quasi-organized. woot! so do me a favor and head on over there sometime and add me to your reader, assuming you still like me. :)

all my old posts and everyone's comments were imported. all the "reply" comments are listed as their own comment, so now it looks as if i weirdly interjected thank you's and random advice, but i think i can live with that.

for anyone who is wondering, the switch was super easy! i'll have to manually set up my pages sections with my finished projects and such, and figure out how to put badges on my sidebar... so bear with me as i work out the kinks.

i also went over to bloglovin and imported all the blogs i had on google reader. that also took seconds once i found the "import" button, now prominently displayed. since g-reader is going the way of the dinosaur i didn't want to lose all the great blogs i love to follow.

see you over at wordpress... please, please, pretty please!!!

—lisa g.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

i'm moving! blogspace, that is...

[UPDATE: easier than i thought! here's my new address... come check it out and update your readers!!!]

okay folks... today. today! i am moving over to wordpress, with or without a glass of wine in hand. it seems pretty easy to do, wish me luck! my blog address will be the same, just wordpress instead of blogger. so, if i stop showing up in your feed you'll know where to find me.

i have a slight lull in my sewing due to the fact that our heater went out over the past weekend and we've been heating our not so well insulated house with a few space heaters. now, my sewing room never had central heat (it's a weird poorly built addition to the house) so i've always had a space heater to keep it warm. but due to the lack-of-heat situation i have to sacrificed my sewing room heat in order to keep our actual living space warm-ish. it was okay over the last few days when our temps made it to 50s F, but today we're hovering in the 30s F and my hands are shivering... it may not be fixed until next week due to the freak snowstorm we had last week, dumping us with another 2 feet of snow. seriously. can we just get on to spring already? we are told that all those heater fixing people with the gas company are working in high priority regions where there was flooding and coastal erosion and such. what do i know? i just want heat!

while my sewing room is a literal icebox i have started prep work on the grainline studio archer button up. woot! i printed and taped last night, traced this morning and hope to cut my fabric today or tomorrow. that is if my hands are steady enough. this was probably the most it really needs to be precise .pdf pattern i've done. initially i had a bit of a problem, it seems as though my printer cuts off the top and bottom of each pattern page leaving me to guess exactly how to connect those sides of the page. i came up with a brilliant (if i do say so) solution.

since the sides of each page printed fine, i simply traced the the square that connects each page to the next, then used it as a guide to line up the edges that didn't print. whew!

alright folks... see you on the other side!

—lisa g.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

oh my darlin'... ranges!

guys, i've been dying to share this dress with you! i have for ages drooled over the darling range dresses you all have made, but i'm cheap and it's hard for me to buy an expensive pattern and then still have to go buy fabric. i start adding up the costs in my head: pattern... fabric... lining... thread... buttons... then i go buy a simplicity pattern on the cheap and complain about how sucky it is. i really need to be convinced that a $20 pattern will get substantial use before i buy it. since i have so many different versions of this dress floating around in my head, i think it's worth the expense.

that said, a while back julie over at fabric mart contacted me about doing a guest post on their blog—fabric mart fabricistas—if they sent me some fabric. sign me up! she pointed me toward some new rayon fabrics and the darling ranges instantly came to mind. it was a match made in heaven if i do say so myself.

so here she is... new favorite dress! head on over to the fabric mart blog to see my write up there, then come back and see how i made the bodice adjustments!

much discussed over here is how wonky i am proportioned. i'm 5'8" which is certainly taller than average. in fact i have four sisters who are all 2-5" shorter than me. however, most of my height is in my legs making it so that i'm rather petite on top. i have a high bust, spindly arms, and have always had trouble finding necklines that aren't indecent and armholes that don't gape wide open. side boob is just not a classy look for me. i've finally come to the conclusion that, more often than not, i need to do a petite adjustment above the bust, then re-add the length under the bust. if you happen to need a similar adjustment, it's very easy to do. here's how...

pick a point above the bust (about 1/3 the way up the armscye) and fold out the amount you need to shorten by all the way around (i took out 3/4").

obviously this is a not-to-scale drawing

then, smooth out the armscye curve and you're good to go!

once i pinned out the room and tried the bodice back on it just fit and felt right; the neckline hit in a good place, the darts were in the right place, the arm hole wasn't gaping. success! a few tweaks here and there, okay a lot of tweaks... and i had a bodice i was happy with. i decided to leave this fitted but still everyday comfortable. i left off the back ties and added darts, and i lengthened the bodice to hit my high waist. mostly i'll wear the dress belted so i left about 2" of ease at the waist. i did add lining to the skirt portion; since the fabric has a white background i didn't think i could get away without it on a sunny day.

i am loving how this dress came out and i have ideas for a few more... sleeveless, short sleeved, scoop-necked... i really need to get more megan nielson patterns!

—lisa g.

Monday, March 11, 2013

moss mini AND dolman tee

so i made a green corduroy skirt eons ago and never really liked it all that much. (i hesitate to link to it, but here you go) i think i wore it once, altered it a bit, then chucked it into the closet never to be seen again. until recently... i unearthed it from the bottom of a pile of sweaters and thought maybe i should do something with it. there was a decent amount of fabric and the moss mini from grainline studio came to mind. i bought the pattern and lo and behold, it just fit! the original skirt had buttons down the front so i decided to keep them and not mess with a zipper.

i didn't bother to muslin this, i figured if it didn't fit i can call this my muslin and still be okay with that. happily it does fit well enough to be worn. yay! i measured a size 8 so that's what i cut. it still seems a little snug in the hips, but it is a mini skirt, so i think it's okay. the waist was a little gaping in the back so i took in the back yoke by a small amount to curve around le boo-tay.

as you all know, this skirt lives up to it's name as a mini skirt. i cut the skirt to the longest length then made a faced hem with bias tape i reclaimed from the original skirt. also—polka dot pocket lining! 

the only other fitting tweak i need to work out is that space below the waist but above my hips. i'm not sure if i have proportionally low hips or what, but that area above the pocket is just kind of floating out there. i've had this problem before, so i guess i need to pay more attention to it. since i was using an existing button down skirt i couldn't sew the pocket lining into the fly as the pattern instructs and i think that would have helped to pull that part in closer to the body. no worries, there will be a next time with this pattern.

i had to piece the waistband because it was a hair too short... we'll just call it a design featureoh, and i added back pockets and belt loops because i thought it needed them.

fortunately the small fit issues i have don't render the skirt useless. i had some purple cotton lycra knit so i decided to make cation designs dolman tee. i've seen these pop up over the past months and while i liked it, i wasn't sure if it was the right style for my figure. i always feel like my shoulders stick out funny and the lack of shoulder seam can exaggerate it. however, i am happy to say i think this top is not only supremely comfortable, but also flattering! 

when i printed the pattern the scale was off (i got 3.5" for the 4" square) so i took an existing knit tee pattern and picked my size based off that. it all worked out and i think this is my new favorite tee! it was wicked fast to sew and would have been even faster to cut, however i had less than a yard of fabric so i had to do some fancy maneuvering. i cut the hem band in two pieces and had to cut the sleeve bands with the grain. i had plenty of stretch going both directions so it worked out fine. also i did a neck binding instead of band. i like the wide neck slouchy look for this.

so look at that, a whole outfit in one weekend! both projects were super fast and i love how they go together. can't wait to try more grainline patterns, i just bought fabric for an archer blouse. so excited for that one!!!

—lisa g.

Monday, March 4, 2013

some bloggity business

there's been loads of discussion around the blogs about how much the blogger platform stinks. i feel as though i've been fighting with blogger since day one, whether it's about getting my posts formatted correctly, uploading pics, commenting (darn you captcha!), and just generally not working when i need it to. when i started this blog i wavered between blogger and word press and claimed my blog name at both spots. blogger won out because it seemed less confusing to set up and more customizable. basically i've regretted it ever since.

my fist blog-posted renfrew! shameful it's
taken so long, but i figure everyone is sick
of this pattern by now.

so i've decided to switch over to word press at some point when i have time to deal with that and hopefully it won't be too traumatic. i am concerned that, because this is a picture heavy blog, that those might get lost. and that would be soul crushing.

this is a nice drape-y rayon with a subtle sheen.
not great for hiding the lumps and bumps, but
it's super soft, so i'll deal.

regardless, i will switch and the switch will probably happen on a whim late some night after one too many glasses of wine... so if you wake up to some weird feed of mine in your reader, i'm apologizing now!

paired with my thurlows... it was only right.
i left off the sleeve and hem bands and lengthened
the hem to compensate and just cut the sleeves
where i wanted them and twin needled the hems.

also, i'm just wondering what ya'll do with your pictures in general. i take what seems like a bazillion pics just to get one or two where i don't look like a complete doofus. i try to make sure and delete the pics off my computer that i will definitely never use, but sometimes i'm in a hurry and think i'll come back to it later. guess what. i never do. 

the pattern's neck band was too long for this knit and it stuck out
all sorts of awkward. had to rip it out and redo. love that...
but now it's nice and profesh looking.

so now i have thousands of pictures of myself in iphoto, which makes me cringe every time i open the program because i HATE having my picture taken. i'm awkward, i don't photograph well, i'm super self-conscious, i don't know where to put my hands, ahhh!!!!

BAM! hand-made outfit!

right now i have to upload them to picasa first in order to put them on the blog. but it... takes... forever... and they're really hard to organize. i use flicker occasionally but only have a few pics there. i haven't come up with a good way of storing my pics, but i really have no need to keep them for the long-term if they're on the blog, right? i just don't know! what do you guys do????

—lisa g.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

tiramisu success!

thanks a million for all the helpful suggestions on my plea for help last week! i suppose i was having a mini sewing-related meltdown... i know you all are above such, yes? no?! ha! anyways, i really appreciate the feedback. seriously, you sewing peeps are the best.

and, as if you didn't know... photographing a black dress is super duper hard!!!

so here's what i decided to do: even though my pattern printed off-scale at 7/8" for every 1" (i believe that's 12% smaller, fyi) i went with the size i measured (bodice 30 C). now, i'm not a C cup, but all the information i found led me to believe that i should go with my measurement and not my usual cup size. that said, i probably could have gone with a 30 B. for the midriff and skirt i chose the waist size 30 and cut the length one size up. i'm definitely taller than the target size. instead of sewing at the drafted 1/2" SA i serged most of my seams with a 3/8" SA. for reference, my measurements are as follows...

high: 32
full: 33.5
under: 30
waist: 29

the only changes i made to the pattern itself were to eliminate the neckline and sleeve bands. i have nothing against the bands, but for this i wanted a slightly dressier look. i added 1/2" to the neckline to compensate for the bands, then serged clear elastic to the edge from the wrong side, then turned and topstitched the edge. i really like how this worked; it gave me a very fast clean finish. for the sleeve hem i turned it in 1/2" and hemmed before sewing up the side seams.

the bodice fit pretty well without too much fiddling. i didn't crossover the neckline as much as the pattern calls for (my CF notches are about 1" apart) because it looked so closed up on me. actually my only real disappointment with this pattern (which may not be the pattern's fault) is that the neckline is too small to lay flat around my neck. i could (and may) widen the neckline slightly to eliminate the wrinkling i'm getting, but i'm going to wear the dress a bit before i go in and perform surgery on it.

this pattern has you cut the entire bodice and skirt on the bias, but since i was using a solid color i decided to cut the bodice on the straight (placing the back piece on the fold to eliminate the back seam). based on everyone's suggestions i left the skirt bias cut. i'm not entirely convinced that cutting the skirt on the bias is necessary to get the nice drape since this is a knit, but i think in the end it helped save on fabric. i had two yards of this fabric which, after washing, was much, much less. i don't think i could have cut both skirt pieces and the back bodice on the fold.

over-exposed pic to show detail

i decided to leave off the pockets partially out of laziness, but mostly because the only things i stash in my pockets are kleenex, not good with black fabric; and my iphone, which would be too heavy and pull at the skirt funny. i do kind of wish i had a place to stash my hands though, i never know what to do with them when i'm not holding a child.


i wish i could comment more on the actual pattern sizing, but i do know i would have ended up taking this dress in quite a bit. the pattern recommends sizing down for a snug fit and that is basically what my mis-printed pattern gave me. in fact, i think the printing mishap ended up saving me a lot of unpicking and resewing. so i guess that's a win!

my final thoughts: i can really appreciate what steph is doing with cake patterns. the whole multi-sized bodice thing is a fantastic idea and i think she's really on to something. that said, i just don't feel the need to fiddle so much with the sizing on a knit pattern. there is a lot of ease built into this dress and i wonder if that just causes more problems than it solves. however i look forward to seeing how her business and patterns evolve; obviously this pattern has been a breakaway hit, and there is no doubt that i really, really love this dress! it checks all the boxes of wardrobe staple, versatile, comfortable, everyday wearable, works with a cardigan... i could go on. i do want to make a stripy version to take advantage of the cheveron effect of the skirt and bodice... in fact this was such a quick dress to sew up i have no doubt that i'll be making more!

—lisa g.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

i need opinions!!!

i'm just about to start work on the tiramisu dress but first need to vent and also ask a few opinions...

so i have some black cotton lycra from that i ordered with the intent of making a knit LBD. a while back an opportunity came up for some free tickets to attend the BSO. i ended up sending my husband because it was cold and i decided against wandering around the streets of boston late at night with two kids. i always get lost and the subway system confuses me... what can i say. i'm from the midwest—i drive places damnit. it also dawned on me that i really don't have anything appropriate to wear. i suddenly needed a black dress. i'm of an age where i should absolutely have a black dress, but sadly don't. so i took a gamble and ordered black knit fabric online and thank the heavens it is exactly the weight and drape i wanted.

i want to use the tiramisu pattern because it has that right mix of casual if you wear it one way, or dressy if you wear it another. i plan to eliminate the sleeve bands and just hem the sleeves, and will probably eliminate the neck bands in favor of serging some clear elastic to the inside, turning, then topstitching. i'm pretty sure i've seen this done with great results, though i'll test some scraps first just to make sure.

so here's my vent: i went with the .pdf version off craftsy partly to save money, and partly (mostly) because i'm impatient. i've done plenty of .pdf patterns so i know what i'm getting into there. i go to print the pattern and it's 65 pages long. what the what?! wow. that's a loooooot of pages. now i knew that there are multiple sizes that you customize based on upper bust and full bust measurements, but there's no good way to print only the bodice size you need.

now, i don't know a whole lot about putting together a .pdf pattern so i'm speaking only from the customer end here, but it would really have been helpful to separate the bodice sizes so you have the option to print only the size you need. i wasted so much paper. i also have a beef with the scaling. my 1" square comes out to 7/8". i had tested this with one page and worked out what percentage to print at, but for some reason when i went to print the entire pattern, it didn't scale. so now i'm stuck with 55 pattern pages that are the wrong scale. i felt so defeated before i even laid out my pages! it was just so much to dig through. basically i'm saying: pay the extra $5 and get the paper pattern.

i figured out that the off scale essentially makes my pattern one size smaller. she notes that for a snug fit to go down a size, so this should work out okay? my fabric is really stretchy, and i've seen people cut out loads of room from the side and under bust seams. the SA is 1/2" and i can sew it with 1/4" SA just for extra insurance. this sounds reasonable, right?

okay, last question: the bodice and skirt is cut on the bias, presumably so that you can have fun with stripes. i would really prefer to eliminate the CB bodice seam and the CB and CF skirt seams and cut these pieces on the fold. since i'm using a solid, do i need to cut these pieces on the bias? i just don't see any obvious reason to. plus i only have 2 yds of fabric so i'm not sure i'll have quite enough for all the bias cutting.

thoughts? lay those opinions on me!!!

—lisa g.