Saturday, September 14, 2013

Simplicity 1716 -- Lilac Dress

I liked the shape of the red cowl so much that I immediately decided to make a dress like it.  I used view D from Simplicity 1716.  I made my usual size 14,  adding an inch to the side seams and adding some length to it (these photos are making me think I added a little too much length).
It is hard to tell from the photos, but the fabric is a lovely textured double knit lilac that I purchased from FabricMart for $3/yard during one of their doubleknit sales.

I have to confess that this dress is not as flattering on me as I had envisioned.  (Believe me, I deleted a lot of photos before I decided to keep these).  I don't fault the pattern, I fault my round, cylindrical, rectangle body where there is little differentiation between bust, waist and hip measurements.  I think this pattern would be gorgeous on a more curvaceous body.

Another close-up of that lovely shoulder draping, which is my favorite feature.
I wanted this dress to be my favorite, but it didn't quite make it to that level.  I will still wear it, though;)

I am so slow at blogging my projects that these pictures were taken at the end of July.  My daughter was my photographer, and during our "photo-shoot" these Texas sage were blooming away, almost a perfect match for my dress (despite the above photos, the fabric is more THIS color).
Also blooming was this Mexican Purple Heart Wandering Jew plant.  It gets a single lilac-colored flower on its dark purple leaves.
And a roadrunner ran across the yard during our photo shoot!!  He (or she) took a short break in the shade which allowed us to get a decent photograph. Yes, we have coyotes and roadrunners in our neighborhood:)

Monday, September 9, 2013

Simplicity 1716 -- Red Cowl Top

One of my summer sewing goals was to make some tops.  I do wear the dresses I make, but tops/shirts are what I need the most in my everyday wardrobe.  It seemed like a reasonable goal, but I have hit a rough patch in my sewing where things are not turning out the way I envisioned them.  So, the only wearable top that I made was this one.

It is view E  from Simplicity 1716.  I made a size 14, adding one inch at the side seams for some extra room and omitting the sleeves.  The fabric is a drapey knit with a crepe-like texture that I purchased for $3/yd. from FabricMart during one of their sales.  I was considering using the rest of the fabric for a dress, but now I'm not sure because it doesn't have good recovery.  Also, when this fabric gets washed, it feels AWFUL, like I've soaked it in salt, but then when it comes out of the dryer it feels fine again.  Not sure what's up with that.

Anyway, I really liked this pattern, especially the pleats at the shoulders and the way they drape.  I tried to show it here but solid fabrics are hard (for me) to photograph.

Hmmm....looking at these pictures makes me think I might have made it a little large, especially in the armholes and at the hips. I think some of this can be attributed to the fabric, though. In the back view you can see that the fabric has not recovered well around the hem.
Despite its flaws, it is a comfortable top to wear, plus I made it so I would have something to wear with these shoes (another thrift store purchase:).
I wanted to show you how well it also goes with my zebra handbag, but I got tired by this point and had to rest my eyes;)
The funny thing is I have another outfit just like this in reverse:  a short red pencil skirt, a black cowl sleeveless top, and black sandals.  That outfit goes with my zebra purse, too;)

Monday, September 2, 2013

Shoe Shelves

There are a lot of broken, disorganized, needing-to-be-repaired items around here.  It seems like our efforts towards order and beauty are "two-steps forward, three steps back."  It's just hard to feel like you're getting anywhere.  But part of my writing this blog is to remind myself that hey! sometimes good stuff happens, too;)

My husband and I share a small walk-in closet, plus we store various and sundry other items in there.  Suffice it to say, storage is tight.  I have been using the shelves above the closet rod  to store my shoes.  As you can see, there were too many shoes and not enough shelves:
It was hard to find a matching pair without pulling a few others down on your head.
I thought it would help if we could add a couple more shelves in between the existing ones.  My husband agreed and bought me some 1x12 boards at Lowes.  I painted them white:
And my husband installed them for me.  All in all, this was a fairly painless home improvement project (which is saying something, because our projects NEVER turn out right the first time).
I did donate some shoes that I never wore.  I thought about feeling guilty about all these shoes, but I really don't.  Most of them were thrift store purchases, and others I have been wearing for years.  Anyway, I love how neat and organized they are now.
In fact, for the first few days I would randomly go in the closet just to admire all this order:)
And while I was working in the closet, I filled a tub with clothes that I don't wear, but I either want to use the fabric for something else or think the clothes can be altered.  A lot of linen dresses from the 90s are in there, as well as some unusual knits that hopefully will become something else.
All this to say, a small successful project can lift your spirits and give you the energy to tackle another one!