Sunday, December 18, 2011

Raspberry Plaid Coat Dress

About half way through this project it seemed like a mess and I almost threw it all in the trash.  
I'm glad I pushed through and finished it in the end now.
A vintage inspired coat-dress.
I had never thought of having a dress that was also a coat. Or a coat that you wear as a dress.  Or whatever this thing is.
 I saw this red heather wool one from j.crew and loved it.
J.crew sells them for $450 and are currently all sold out.  I would obviously never spend that much on a single piece of clothing, so I thought maybe I could make one instead.
Being an experiment, I wasn't going to use any expensive fabric.  I found 2 yards of this mid-weight cotton shirting with a brown/pink plaid in my stash.  I'd bought it from for $2/yd just to put my order over $35 to get free shipping.  I also happened to have some raspberry satin I'd bought on clearance and 50% off, which also ended up being $2/yd.  So in the end this coat-dress was under $10.00 which makes me like it even more.
Obviously the expensive j.crew version is better in both fabric and quality, but at least I have a cheaper kind of crappy look alike rather than nothing I guess!

Some of my favorite details:
The Standing Collar
This was an unfortunate mistake.  I was in a hurry to get this done, as I wanted to wear it to a big fancy Christmas party for my husband's work and only had a few hours before the party.  So I just hacked out a collar, and didn't plan on it ending exactly like this, but I ended up liking it just fine.

The front of the collar has a deep break that overlaps with the other side to button.  So rather than one side on top of the other, one side is on the bottom for the length of the placket, then the very top comes in front with the button hole, crossing over the top placket to close.  I had a big broach-like button for the collar closure that I thought added to the vintage vibe.

Welt Pockets
My second favorite element has to be the pockets.  I always love skirts and dresses with pockets for both function and the look.  It just seems like a surprise to have pockets on a dress to me.  I made these pockets with a thick 1" welt, and a 1/8" raspberry detail at the base.  The actual pockets are really deep, so I can let my arms just hang in them like a monkey.  I also found an entire open can of soda fit in a pocket as I was going through the buffet line at the party.  Luckily I remembered to get the can out of my pocket before I sat down.

I liked the look of the formal buttoned up collar, but I actually wore it open with the collar folded down a bit.
I usually wouldn't think to have three-quarter length sleeves on a dress, but I loved the 60s vibe it had in the j.crew version, and the sleeves reminded me of Jackie O Kennedy, although she'd probably have worn elbow length gloves rather than the long-sleeved turtle neck underneath.

Here's a shot of the raspberry satin lining.
Which happened to match a pair of tights I've had for a few years but rarely wear.  
I was excited to have something to wear these tights with!

I didn't use a pattern, which was probably a bad idea.  It ended up being a frustrating process of failing and fixing to get the fit better, but never really great.  The cotton shirting was hard to work with, it was too thin and made a challenge trying to pattern match the plaid to some degree.  A wool would be better as it's meant to be a coat and this fabric isn't.  The thicker satin lining really helped in this case to reinforce and support the shape of the plaid.  But I guess it turned out and is wearable.

It's a really easy dress to wear. I feel like it has enough structure and shape I'm not totally wearing a plaid sack or tent, but it's still loose and comfortable.  I think overall it's really different from any other dress I've ever worn.  I thought it would be cute more of a coat vibe wearing it with skinny jeans and riding boots, ballerina flats or heels to be more casual.  Probably would look more like a coat if it was shorter in the mid-thigh range rather than to the knee as I've made it...but I don't wear skirts shorter than my knee so this may end up leaning more in the dress category for that reason.
I didn't get around to it yet, but I plan to add 3 buttons to the back of the sleeves for a faux placket, and probably a few on the front center placket.  The j.crew version doesn't have buttons, but I think this thinner fabric needs 2 or three buttons in order to wear the collar closed.

I am interested in your opinions on this idea--a dress that also looks like a coat?  Too weird?  Any other ideas of how you'd wear it?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Christmas Pillow Covers

I finally have a project to blog about.  I've been sewing things I have to wait until I blog them, and we've all been sick or teething this week at my house....tis the season.

Two things I love, Christmas and envelope pillow covers.
Actually I don't really love pillow covers, but they're so easy to make and saves a lot of money, I seem to make them a lot.
Last year I made this noel pillow cover and wanted to add a few more. 

The background of this first pillow is an older Moda cotton print by Basic Gray I got on clearance for $2/yd last year.  The print was so busy I decided I needed an applique patch for the word.

1. I traced my word onto freezer paper, cut it out, ironed the freezer paper to my red fabric and painted the text with fabric paint.  More details on freezer paper stenciling here, or you probably already have a craft cutter you could use too.  Then cut your desired shape from interfacing.
2. Sew the interfacing to the right side of the word.  **Make sure the fusible side of the interfacing is facing down on the words, or right sides together (fusible/ sticky side being the "right" side of interfacing)**
 3. Trim all the excess fabric from your patch.  I used pinking shears to trim pretty close to stitching.  Because mine is an oval, you need to cut really close or snip the seam allowances.
Snip the interfacing in an "x" shape in the center.
4.  Using the open hole in the snipped interfacing, turn the patch right side out.  The fusible side of the interfacing should be the back of your patch now.  You can just position it on your base fabric and iron it on, and the interfacing should adhere your patch wherever you want it, and the shape has nice finished seams.

I chose to hand sew the edges of my patch with blue embroidery floss.  You could always just wing around the edge with your machine too.

I also made another pillow with a square patch. 

I didn't want to draw attention to the edges of this larger patch so I just used red thread to sew it on the base.

Each pillow cover comes together really quickly after the letters are painted, probably around 15 minutes.
I like making holiday pillow covers because they can be stored in a sandwich ziplock bag the rest of the year.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Project Run and Play

My little bio has been posted for today at Project Run and Play.

Friday, December 9, 2011

What I've Been Up To

I get to participate in Season 3 of Project Run and Play!

I was so thrilled when Elizabeth emailed me to see if I wanted to be a part of the third round of Project Run and Play, which is a blogger version of Project Runway for kids.
What I love about PR&P is the fact it's not anonymous.  It makes it about 10 times easier to be a part of it since you can use your own kids and usual backgrounds, etc.  They have three celebrity judges to balance the voting so it can't be a popularity contest.

I'm just so excited to share my ideas and see what everyone else makes too.  
I've never made it past the third week in prior crafting/ sewing competitions, so we'll see how I do!
Season Three will start at the first of the year!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Miss Ellie Is Spoiled

My little sister Lynette is a really good aunt.
Like wipes my kids butts for me sometimes.
Sometimes I'm sure they wish she were their mom because she's always patient and  nice and willing to give out treats!
She's a good aunt to RJ, she blogged a funny story where he ruined all her bobbin thread here.

But she's got a soft place in her sewing studio for little Ellie girl.

Miss Ellaria is getting especially spoiled lately as Lynette has had free sewing time recently and this little chubby girl has become her little muse.

Just check out everything she's made for Ellaria!
each project is in more detail on Lynette's blog, just click the links.

Reversible Dresses
She made her two!

This is what Ellaria wore for Thanksgiving. 
When Lynette first told me her plan, it seemed like unusual colors for a baby girl, but I love it!!!

Ellie was only a model for her baby boy clothes...she barely squeezed in them

While I'm at it, Lynette also made me a button front blouse for my birthday!

In my favorite color actually.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Baby Winter Boots

 Yesterday was our first snow of winter!
Perfect time to welcome December.  With cold weather coming in, I decided to make Ellaria little boots out of my scraps.

I purchased the pattern for these easy button boots HERE from I think sew.
As always, fabric shoes never maintain a nice perfect shape like manufactured shoes would obviously.  They bunch and can look a little wonky at times.  But they're easy, affordable and comfortable and I think they're really cute.  She's worn them a few times and has received quite a few compliments on her cute button boots.

They're perfect for Ellie who's not walking yet so she doesn't need real shoes, but with cold weather, it's nice to have more than a sock for her.

The boots are all lined with fleece to make them warm.
The houndstooth pair is a scrap from my sheath dress.
The black pair is from an old wool sweater I cut up.
The khaki pair used the scraps from my uncut corduroy I used for my blazer.

For the bottoms, I used the same fabric and vinyl.  The chocolate vinyl sole is a scrap from my DIY Pouf.

 Using a sweater was fun, I cut the front tabs with the textured sweater hem on the bottom to make it a little more interesting.

The boot is basically a tall backed slipper, then you sew a separate foot flap that is top stitched to one side, then velcros across the front of the ankle.  The buttons are merely decorative. 

She's all ready for winter, and has loved watching the snow fall.  Pretty easy entertainment!


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