I promised myself not to rant here about people who let their dogs p*** right in front of a school or kindergarten (great start for a blog post, right?). So let me just say: it's 9.20 am and I need a break already. Luckily, there's still my newest dress to boast about and cheer me up ;-)
I would love to find a stronger expression for "time flies", but you know, tempus fugit, and I'm really busy, as in "should be working 24/7 to get everything done on time". I'm teaching on a freelance basis again, and when I signed my current teaching contract a few months ago, it didn't seem like THIS MUCH work. But, oh well. I had to prioritize (which I really need to practice more!), and so: no blog posts in four months. Actually, not much sewing these past months - apart from two summer dresses. And so, without much further ado, here's the first one of my favorite summer garments 2016!
Sometime around June, I finished my second Cashmerette Washington/ Lekala 4119 Frankendress, and it's my favorite dress EVER. It's unbelievably comfy, but the denim skirt part also provides some nice structure. And triangles! I love this dress.
The front yoke part actually called for more stretch than the denim had when cut on bias, but I decided to cut and sew just the yoke and then try it on, and since it was easy to put on over my head (this dress doesn't have any zippers or buttons, which makes it a pretty easy sew), I decided to go with it. And what shall I say? I just love it! (as I might have mentioned before...)
Okay, don't look at those wrinkles. That's what happens when you try to take pictures of a new garment after an hour-long car ride. Duh. And no, I'm not talking about the wrinkles in my face. Those are not from that car ride. I guess ;-)
Now don't ask me why I tilt my head like that all the time. About three-quarters of my photos look like this. Time for some advice on posing for photos? It would be, if I just had the time. Did you notice how I'm procrastinating today? Aaaarrrrgggghhhh.....
But just one more little detail before I get back to my lesson planning (I promise!), just because I'm so very happy with all the finishing details, maybe for the first time ever. Aren't those side seams with the white topstitching just perfect?
Okay, so back to work now. Creative breaks are the best of breaks :-D
Sewing, crocheting, applique and hand embroidery. Photography and writing. Crafting with my kids. Baking and cake decorating. One should think that these are enough to keep me busy. But no, there's always a new craft I'll have to try. So I've recently rediscovered a passion for drawing, coloring and card making. I've always loved drawing and painting, and I've made cards before, but more on a one-off basis for special occasions rather than on a larger scale. I still have some paper craft materials from years back when we got married and I made a bunch of invitations, menus, thank you cards and so on.
For my friend's birthday in January, I made a simple card using some gift wrapping paper from IKEA. I cut out a couple of motifs from the same paper I had used to wrap the gift and pieced them together on some colored card stock and a matching envelope. Then I heat embossed a very simple sentiment onto the card. Actually, it was the only suitable stamp I had on hand, and I wasn't too happy with it, but it was still better than hand writing the sentiment.
I also had this small letter stamp set that I used to stamp the name on the envelope. Not the best stamp set either. I had the vague idea that I should keep an eye out for some cute stamps to make birthday cards. So that invitation to a StampinUp party popped up in my inbox at just the right time. I had never heard of the company before, but fell in love with their stamp sets right away.
My favorite set is the Flowering Fields rubber stamp set that I got as a free Sale-A-Bration item. I just love how different combinations of the individual stamps and different colors make each card unique:
Masking these delicate shapes in order to create a layered look is fairly time consuming, so when I came across the Botanical Sketch background stamp by Tim Holtz/ Stampers Anonymous, I just knew I had to try it out, too:
Stamping this one is a lot easier - just carefully ink the whole stamp and make sure to apply even pressure to the whole image, there's no masking or arranging individual flowers. But then I find coloring these flowers a little more tricky and time consuming, and it's not as easy to add some dimension by cutting out individual flowers and adding them on with foam pads or tape. All in all, I like that I have two options for creating different varieties of these colorful flowery cards, and each has its advantages and disadvantages. I'll certainly make more of these.
But some occasions call for something less dainty. For my father's birthday I needed a card that would hold some tickets to a comedy show, so I cut this long card from colored card stock and wrapped it in gift paper. I kept the stamping fairly simple, creating a background from a set of five or six small dots that I repeatedly stamped in random orientation. I added a little dimension to a number of party hats that I stamped and cut out - these actually hint to my father's age without shouting out the actual number:
Finally, as I've been having so much fun with making cards, I decided to host a StampinUp party at my home. My mother is turning 70 this year, so I asked Vera from Lovelystamps, the StampinUp demonstrator I had met at that first stamping party, to craft birthday cards with us. After my experiences with product demonstration parties (not in the area of crafting, more in the food storage sector - you know what I mean), I was pleasantly surprised that she didn't try to sell us all kinds of things, but rather just handed us the catalogs, answered all our questions and let the products speak for themselves. That was why it was absolutely fine for me to host this party, knowing that my guests wouldn't feel pressed to buy anything. While I probably wouldn't host another "you have to buy these plastic boxes" party again (and not only because we have more than enough of these plastic boxes in our kitchen), I'm absolutely sure that this wasn't my last StampinUp party (and not only because you can never have enough crafting supplies ;-))! We had lots of fun, got to try out some really fabulous crafting materials, and I just love how my card turned out:
It's quite different from what I've created so far, so this was a great opportunity for trying out something new. Up to now, I haven't been a huge fan of patterned paper because I never really knew what to do with it, but I really like the look of this card, and I ordered this beautiful designer paper set from the Sale-A-Bration catalog as a freebie for my order. I made three additional flowers for the envelope, so it's not completely finished yet, but there's still quite some time left. And as my order arrived yesterday (yippiehhhh!), I'm sure I'll soon be making more cards. And photo albums for my kids - a project that has been at the top of my to do list for - ummm - 4 years?! And maybe some home decor? I've seen some really great ideas on YouTube recently...
Oh, did I mention that I'm in the middle of sewing pyjamas for my boys? I really need to find some time for sewing soon... And with spring finally around the corner, I'm in need for some new dresses that are all planned out and prepared to be cut and sewn. Let's see if I can get back into that sewing flow I had at the beginning of the year... But up next, I'll be probably showing you some of the cakes I made recently. Unless there's another craft just waiting to be tried out :-P
Kid's Clothes Week is about to start! I'm all set to go. Again. Let's hope for the best that this time around, there's nothing to keep me from participating. No sick kids, no broken sewing machine, no full-time classes to teach... I'd really, really love to participate this season. Will you keep your fingers crossed for me?
There's one thing left to do before KCW starts, however. And that's my final post about my new Cashmerette Washington/ Lekala 4119 frankenpattern dress. I had the fabulous idea to double over the top so that I would be able to use a fairly sheer fabric, and so that I could skip hemming the neckline and armholes. When I cut it and sewed the two separate bodice layers, it was still pretty straightforward. Then I sewed the two parts together at the neckline, right sides together. Easy. And then? I sat staring at my creation for quite a while. Obviously just sewing the armholes while still having lined up the two bodices right sides together would make it impossible to turn the whole thing right side out.
Has it really been almost a month since I last posted here? This time thing is freaking me out. Weeks are flashing by like glimpses of bystanders at a carousel that's running too fast. A while ago I saw a movie about someone who had a remote control with which he could fast forward through the "boring bits" in his life. Of course that ended really badly, and as we've all learnt from countless movies on time travel and such, it's not a good idea to mess with spacetime. But I feel like running constantly on fast forward, and I sure wish I had a slow motion button that I could use from time to time. Just to be able to get at least some of all the things done that are on my list. Lists, actually, but let's not get into that again right now... So what was I writing about? Ah, my newest dress.
I should call January productivity month. Or maybe I should hope that this creative surge will last for the rest of the year ;-) I always used to take weeks or even months to finish any kind of sewing project. I still have some shirts lying around that just need to be hemmed, a cardi that is all cut and ready to be sewn, as well as a handful of soft toys that are just waiting for some finishing touches. And now I've finished a second dress within two weeks, and one with considerable alterations to the original pattern. I don't know if I should be proud or scared... Anyway, here it is, my Cashmerette Washington + Lekala 4119 Frankenpattern Dress:
It's been quiet around here. Too quiet. For way too long. And let me tell you - I've been meaning to write this post for weeks, if not months. I've written and rewritten it in my head time and again. So let's find out what becomes of it when I actually write it down.
You see, there's this project - and I'm not going to go into detail here - that I've agreed to sew for someone I know. It's large. Huge. It turned out to be unsurmountable for months. It's not especially difficult to sew, but it included a lot of measuring, planning yardage, then being given fabric (cheap, ugly fabric!) to sew with, sitting down to plan yardage yet again (ugh), hours of pre-washing, ironing, cutting, and finally sewing. We are talking about 10 meters each of fabric and zippers, by the way.