Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christmasy-red dress

A few weeks ago when Butterick Patterns were on sale, I picked up this pattern.
I really liked the style of the blue dress on the front of the envelope.
I figured I would put off making the dress for a couple months, as I had other projects in progress at the time, I was going to need to buy fabric for this dress, and had no idea what sort of fabric I wanted to make the dress out of.

Then I found this fabric at Wal-Mart, and knew it would work perfectly. (plus it was on clearance!)
It's cottony-soft, very thin, and simi-sheer. 
I love how the stripes are made - the fabric is a looser weave for the dark stripes, and tighter for the lighter ones. I'm not sure what kind of fabric it is as the end of the bolt didn't tell me, but I'm thinking it's a cotton blend. 
I used an old sheet for lining.

It's surprisingly easy to put off other projects once you get the fabric for a dress you're really excited about. Thus, last week, this dress came to be.
I'm pretty happy with how it turned out (There are only a couple things I wish I could change) and I got lots of compliments on it when I wore it to church on Sunday.

The only thing I changed from the pattern was eliminating the front skirt seam. A seam down the center front of of a skirt annoys me, so instead I subtracted the seam allowance and cut the skirt front on the fold.

I added the trim and buttons on the neckline once the dress was finished because the collar wasn't laying right, and the neckline gaped  The trim and buttons (which I had left over from other projects) fixed that, and I love how festive they make the dress look. 

I just wish I had made the shoulders a little wider, as they are too narrow and kinda tight if I move my arms too much. A longer zipper would have been a good plan too.

Now that I have a festive dress I'm ready to start making Christmas presents, but I have no idea what to make for people. Last year I made cloth baskets and bread cloths for my aunts, any suggestions of what I could make this year? Something somewhat useful and easy to make (so I can make several in a short amount of time)?

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Finished dresses (with sleeves)!

A couple weeks ago I went to Joann's, and came home with all this.
When all I meant to buy was one card of buttons.

Well at least when I buy fabric, I make something out of it (eventually). 
With the blue calico I wanted to make a girl-sized version of this dress for my little sister.
So I did, and I'm pretty happy with how it turned out!
With this dress I got to learn a new skill - making covered buttons, something I'd never thought to try before. I got 1/2" button forms off Amazon, and started covering them. Covering buttons with fabric was actually easier than I expected it to be, so down the back of the dress are 11 buttons covered in the green fabric the sleeves and yoke are made from. I just hope those buttons stay together! I'm a little worried they might pop apart, but time will tell.

I bought the tan calico to make a winter dress for my self, as nearly all of my dresses are sundresses. After looking through my patterns I came up with a design.
I combined Butterick B5813 with Simplicity 1800, and added a few of my own details.

I changed a few things once I started sewing, and the dress wound up being a bit shorter than I meant for it to be, yet I'm very happy to have a cute dress with sleeves!
 The piping at the pockets and waist, along with the ruffled trim around the neckline, is actually made from scraps of my purple plaid wool.

Now I still haven't cut into the tan wool I got on that trip to Joann's, but that particular project is on this week's (may turn into next week's) to-do list, and I'm very excited about it!

Monday, November 10, 2014

Darned bucks. . .

This is the sight I woke up to this morning. . .
2 bucks and one doe running around in the back yard. 
There are a few things wrong with this picture
 1) there aren't supposed to be any goats in the yard.
 2) there should never be more than 1 buck in with a doe. (guess the sire is not a game I want to play)
 3) these animals were all in secure pens last night.

Now that being said it was rather funny to watch them

"Oh look there's a doe. In heat"

"She's mine!"  "Oh, no buddy, She's mine!"
*completely ignore the doe while they fight each other*
"Go away! She's mine!"

At about this point I caught the buck who wasn't supposed to breed this particular doe (the bigger one, with the most black on him, his name is Coach). 
"Why'd you have to shut me up in here? Isn't it my job to chase does?"

Then the remaining buck ( his name is Lucky) went to chasing the doe around and around and around the yard. There was no way I was gonna get them for a while so I left them be. I went to figure out how the heck the doe and Lucky had escaped their pen with the 6 foot high, chain link fence. And this is what I found.

Apparently coach jumped the fence to get out of his pen when he realized there was a doe in heat in another pen. Then he started to fight with Lucky through the fence of Lucky's pen until they bent the fence up enough that Lucky and the doe could get out. Darned bucks. Fixing a fence at 7 in the morning isn't my idea of a good way to start the day.  By the end of this I was beginning to think that goat sausage would taste really good. . . But then I remembered I really like baby goats, and goat milk. So I suppose I need to keep these boys around. They had better give me a heck of alot of amazing daughters for all the trouble they cause!!

Sunday, November 2, 2014

Purple plaid dress - Done!!

It's finished!!!!!!! My purple plaid wool 1840 dress is completed!
(well actually it was finished a week ago, but I just got some pictures of it yesterday)

In case you can't tell I'm really excited about it! Although I'm almost disappointed it's done because it was so much fun to make. Overall I'm really happy with how it came out, and I got to use some sewing techniques I'd never before attempted.

(It was really sunny!)
I really like how full the skirt appears in this picture! I'm not wearing a hoop skirt as hoops weren't popular until the mid 1850's. The fullness comes from a quilted petticoat, a corded petticoat, and a ruffled petticoat.

The Skirt is gathered by hand. I hand sewed 3 rows of very even stitches. It took a long time, but the end result was worth it! I then hand sewed the skirt to a piece of twill tape, which I hand sewed to the inside of the bodice waistband.

Rather than a hem, the skirt is finished with a hem facing. This is what they did throughout most, if not all of the 1800's. That way, if the inside of the skirt got stained on the inside from the mud on your shoes your skirt wasn't ruined, you could just replace the hem facing! And yes, I realize that the brown polk-a-dotted fabric is not historically accurate, it was just the only fabric I had enough of that wasn't already earmarked for another project. Besides, it's not going to be seen :)

The cuffs close with wooden buttons and thread loops, I'd never made thread loops before, but they were pretty easy.

This is the picture I texted my friends, saying "It's done!"

The back of the dress closes with 10 hooks and eyes. I think it took just as long to sew all of those on as it did to gather the skirt!

Well now that the dress is done, I'm going to make a bonnet and cloak to go with it. I already have the patterns and all the materials for both! So hopefully I can get those done in the next 2 weeks or so, but first I have a few other projects I want to finish.