Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Nametag Holder for PR Weekend

I'm heading to Chicago on Thursday for the Pattern Review Weekend - a conference of sorts for sewers. I've watched with envy all the fun everyone has had in weekends past and decided to bite the bullet and join the great group of ladies! They are expecting a record crowd this time with just over 100 attendees.

Weekend activities include organized shopping trips at various fabric and notion stores, sewing lectures / discussions, and a private meeting with the Lieutenant Governor of Illinois, Sheila Simon who is an accomplished sewer! She even sewed her inaugural suit and gown for the inaugural ball! Of course there will be lots of food and cocktails and socializing in between and I can't wait to meet some of the bloggers I've been following for a long time!

One of the optional aspects is to create a nametag holder for the conference. I think there are even prizes for various categories - most bling, largest, etc. Someone mentioned batteries!! Now, I can follow a pattern pretty well but I'm not very creative so when I read about that, I decided I would pass. But while I was at a work conference last week, I was sitting in a session wondering why they always make the nametag lanyards so long. Mine hung down to my waist and I don't need colleagues looking at my stomach when they're trying to remember my name.

As I sat there pondering this and twirling around my nametag (it was a boring session!), I had the thought that if the lanyards were elasticized, they could be shorter and still fit over heads. Which gave me the idea for my simple lanyard. This is certainly not going to win me any prizes but at least it won't clash with my outfits! :-) BTW, where you see my name is where our actual nametags would go. I thought it made sense to put my name in there for example but I realize now it simply looks stupid. LOL

Because it's black, it's a little difficult to see but here is what I did. Made a long tube, finished width approximately 1 1/4". Stitched a tunnel down the middle and inserted a piece of elastic. Stitch it closed and stitched onto a split ring. Made a 1" ruffle piece out of coordinating fabric and glued to the back of the plastic nametag holder. And because I can never leave well enough alone, I added a little yoyo with a bow on top. This holder was recycled from last week's conference.

McCalls 6324

Because this is supposed to be a sewing blog, more about my Derby dress. The pattern is McCalls 6324.

I loved the simple lines of the dress and the exposed zipper adds a little zing! I preferred the little cap sleeve and wanted all one color so I made view C but left off the bottom band. I wanted it to fall just above the knee and without the bottom band, that's where it landed on me with no adjustment.

Although the pattern has a lot of pieces and took some time to cut out, the sewing itself was fairly simple. The directions were clear and easy to follow although I had to read the exposed zipper instructions several times. No fault of the pattern; it was my first time doing an exposed zipper and I wasn't quite sure how it worked. I didn't make a muslin (simple laziness because of all the pieces) but wished I would have because the bodice is a wee bit wider than I'm comfortable with. I should have reduced the width and I probably would have also added about 1/2" to the neckline to bring it in just a smidge. Tip: I marked each pattern piece with its number so I would not get the similar pieces mixed up and I would be sure to keep the right sides out!

Here it is modeled with my Derby hat (purchased on ebay - great source if you want to avoid spending hundreds of dollars on a hat!) I'm standing next to my lilac "tree". It smells beautiful right now!

The bodice and sleeves are supposed to be lined in the same fabric but I used a contrasting fabric for 3 reasons:
  1. The fabric is a lightweight stretch twill and I was afraid it would be too bulky if I doubled up.
  2. I didn't quite have enough fabric to squeeze out the lining pieces anyway.
  3. I thought it would look cute! I LOVE contrasting linings.

Note: Due to my pose, the zipper looks crooked but it's not!

Derby Party 2011

Every year, my neighbors have a Derby Party. They are the best hosts and always create a fantastic party! From the Bourbon Slushies in the frozen drink machine, to the authentic Mint Juleps, the delicious food, the horse "auction" (more later), the door prizes, the flaming shots (somehow they have become tradition although I passed this year), and concluding with a firepit - a good time is always had by all!

The first couple years they included a hat contest and the creations were hilarious! Although the contest has been discontinued, the ladies all still wear "Derby Attire" which of course includes a hat. I found mine on ebay this year at a very reasonable price. Like usual, I made my dress (see subsequent post).

The Hosts (polka dot dress & megaphone/visor) during the horse auction:
Over the years, they have established different methods for betting on the Derby horses. The one that seems to be most popular is to hold an auction and let people bid on the horses. The most expensive went for $160 and the least expensive went for $45. Payoff to top 5 horses and this year the winner received $800! Our horse placed fifth and we received $80 ($20 over our bid).

The Ladies Picture:
Notice the red roses on the table; my neighbor had roses everywhere - they were beautiful!! Note to self: do NOT stand next to beautiful Jen next year. (Notice how she's trying to scrunch down yet her legs STILL seem to end right at my chest level!):

My Daughter and me:
My daughter stopped by before heading to her own party; Isn't she gorgeous!:

Flaming Tequila Shots :
Directions: Pour a shot of vodka. Top with a thin slice of lemon. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Pour small amount of high proof alcohol (e.g. 151 rum) and light. Blow out flame (in dark to make sure no flame remains!!), take shot, suck lemon.

It was a great time!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Put Me in the Zoo top - McCalls 6078


Mark surprised me with these beautiful roses!

So what do roses and Mother's Day have to do with a sewing blog? Well, I wore my latest project to Mother's Day brunch with Mark and the kids.

Remember the leopard who could change his spots in the Dr. Seuss book Put Me in the Zoo? I LOVED that story. And I love polka dots!

When I returned to sewing after a 10 or so year hiatus, the first thing I made was a polka dot dress (pre-blogging; no photos). I'm always on the lookout for polka dot fabrics that are not too obnoxious for an adult so when I saw this fabric, I had to have it. McCalls 6078, View B (the orange and animal print shown below) had been in my queue for a while but I hadn't found a fabric for it yet.

When I saw the dots, I knew it was a match made in heaven!!

The pattern was lightening fast to sew - 45 minutes including cutting and marking! There are only 2 pattern pieces. I love how the facing wraps in the shoulder seam, ensuring the facing doesn't turn out. I made a small and the fit was perfect. The cowl drapes to the perfect depth - not too low/not too high; right on the edge of what I am comfortable wearing in the office setting.

The fabric is a bit sheer but I intend to wear it with a light cardigan over it anyway as shown.

I love the other two versions, too and will probably try them. I would also like to make View B with a sleeve on it.

It made the perfect outfit for a wonderful morning with the people I love the most!!

Monday, May 02, 2011

Flowy Skirt - S2184

I love flowy (is that a word?) skirts and was happy to find out they are back in style this season. I recently ordered a few New Look and Simplicity skirt patterns from (love their service!) and with some stretch rayon from that is FABULOUS!! I settled on Simplicity 2184 for my skirt. It's just a simply bias cut elastic waist skirt.

It coordinated nicely with a top I posted earlier, McCalls 6164. Here's a crappy photo taken in my hotel room mirror:

This was a quicky zippy project - approx. 1 hr and 15 minutes including cutting. I did hang it overnight before hemming.

Short Trench - FINALLY! Vogue 8480

Once upon a time (2008) in sewer blog-land, someone posted about purchasing a fun fabric for raincoats - a water resistant twill in fantastic colors (turquoise, red, tan, black) that was fused to a Burberry-looking fabric to create a medium weight fabric suitable for rainwear. A buying frenzy ensued with sewers around the world buying up this fabric to make raincoats. Like the good little lemming that I am, I purchased some in turquoise from Michael's Fabric and planned on making Vogue 8480 - a short unlined jacket (unfortunately, now out of print). The jacket was highly rated by some of the best sewers in blog-land and I really wanted one of my own.

In spite of purchasing the fabric and pattern in 2008, it languished in my stash until recently. I am so thrilled I finally got around to making this jacket. I absolutely love it! I did make some alterations including lengthening the body, reducing the width of the sleeves (changed from bell shape to a more modest flare) and increasing the length of sleeves (changed from 3/4 length to full length). I also moved the buttons around a bit. Full review at PR, if you're interested.

We have been experiencing the wettest spring in Cincinnati history so it would have been nice to have this done a month ago but that's the story of my life!

Flasher pose to show the "Burberry" lining:

On the dressform as I pondered button placement:

"A evening to remember"

In my last post, I mentioned that the night I wore my re-fashioned flower power dress was "...definitely an evening to remember." Well, here is why:

Mark proposed!!! Now that we've told all our family and close friends, I can post about it. It was a complete surprise to me. We've been together for 2 1/2 years and had discussed our future plans so he knew I would say yes (hee hee) but he spent several months designing/selecting the ring so he could surprise me. He even planned a proposal several weeks earlier in which he was going to propose at the Cincinnati Reds Opening Day on the KissCam. I blew that with an unexpected business trip that came up several days before that caused me to miss Opening Day.

Plan B meant a proposal while we were on a mini getaway at our home in Bonita Springs. The actual proposal came at the end of a fabulous dinner at a wonderful restaurant in Fort Myers Beach. By the way, I highly recommend this restaurant (even if dinner doesn't include a proposal!) - Bayfront Bistro.

We haven't set a date and will likely wait for a year or so.

A few more photos: We stopped for an after dinner drink on the beach:

Engagement congratulations from my daughter. Tulips are my favorite flower: