Posted in Life, sewing

Bodice Muslins and Black Tie Weddings

I used to read about women who had a range of clothes in their closet for the different weights they were at. I’d never quite understood that because my weight was fairly consistent. I mean, I would go up in size, but didn’t yo-yo. Right now, I am definitely in a place where 50 percent of my wardrobe doesn’t fit me. I don’t love it. But, I don’t hate myself for it either.

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That said, this left me with a bit of dilemma this sewing weekend. I started on a 2007 Burda pattern that I’m making up for a ‘picnic wedding’ in upstate New York at the end of the month. Now, the old me sewed a 38 with a 1/2  inch FBA. Umm, no.

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The current me, after  FOUR muslins, seems to need a 40 with a 1.25 inch FBA. Heavens.

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Above is the 40 with a .75 inch fba (and the darts lowered and angled differently). I went ahead and added another .5  inch to my pattern because of pulling side seam *only* at the bust and some drag lines at the waist pointing to my bust apex. I didn’t muslin that one. So, let’s hope I don’t have saggy bodice when I’m done!

I’d rather have a dress that fits right ‘now’ than feel uncomfortable in something that’s just too snug and hopeful it will fit later.

So, which body do you sew for? The one you have now? Or the one you kind of want to have back?

Other weekend notes. Black Tie wedding was this weekend. This was the second of two black tie events that prompted J. to just buy a tuxedo instead of renting one twice. I’m still wearing a RTW dress. After these last two formal outings. I don’t know that I’m going to ‘bother’ sewing a formal dress again. I’ve made three formal dresses myself. And, the only home sewn formal dress I’ve come close to getting the same number of compliments as I do in RTW is this silver one. And, I put in a TON OF TIME for a dress that I only wore once.

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I hope to wear my two formals at least two more times. But, for the level of effort vs amount of wear, I’m going to have to go with the under $200 formal on sale rather then making one.  And, I’ll be honest, my RTW formalwear has details and fabric that I can’t do nor afford. And, because I CAN sew, it’s easy for me to make simple alterations to have a custom look. Maybe this will change later on in life. But, for now, it’s not worth it to me to sew these kinds of clothes anymore. What about you? Do you always sew your formals or do buy them?

 

Posted in Life, sewing

Never Say Never. Dress Into a Skirt.

I’ve always said that I ‘sew’.  I don’t ‘refashion’.  When I went to Florida to visit my dad, one goal to was organize my mom’s personal items. My dad was just. not. ready.  But, he was good about me taking any mementos I wanted. So, I went ahead and selected a few items from her closet that I wanted to preserve in some way. It was remarkable to go through her things because an unbelievable amount were either items I bought for her when I worked retail, clothes I made specifically for her, altered for her or clothes for myself that she got when they no longer fit me. She was always happy and excited for any of them. So, there were a great number of memories in her  closet.

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Inow have this fairly sizable stack of clothing that belongs to her that I don’t want to just give away (won’t fit me because she was teeny). But, I also don’t want to be a hoarder! That leaves me with a bit of refashioning to do. Never, say never. Refashioning these items will allow me to keep the memories of the garment, but still get use of them.

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This dress I made six years ago in 2008 (WHERE DOES THE TIME GO??)  I loved this dress!! But, it was before I knew to make a FBA. And, I couldn’t wear it with my strapless bra which made me my ‘real’ size vs smushing me in. So, I gave it to my mom who wore it to church with a little jacket. I always loved this fabric from my trip to Ghana and worked *really* hard on the dress: silk organza underlining, motif matching, pieced waistband, hand picked zipper — the works!

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So, I’ve turned it into a skirt! I removed the bodice, redistributed the pleats and added a narrow waistband. I can’t tell you how much I love the Perfect Waist Maker by  Dritz (below). Perfect for making interfaced straight waistbands. I need to buy it by the roll.

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Now, the fabric is back in my life, I get to remember my mom, and I have a new skirt.

I sewed like I was single over Mother’s Day weekend. I sent J. to his parent’s house and sewed, sewed, sewed with Linus at my side. Which means, I have three (!!) completed projects — all previewed on my Instagram and to be worn on my Memorial Day vacay to Minneapolis. Love the colors of this knit dress!

Posted in Life

Belated Answer to Wedding Dress Question

I see now it’s been nearly a month since I last posted. I’ve not been sewing. I’ve worked a little on Jordan’s jacket and gotten some good feedback from Robin on it too. I’m going to see my Dad and help him arrange some things the first weekend of May and have spent an inordinate amount of time on the Tampa Bay craigslist looking for used Berninas. The prices are easily hundreds less than they are in the Baltimore area. Feel free to give me your thoughts on the old Bernina 830, 930 and 1130 if you have or had one of those machines. There’s a 1130 in Brooksville (where my dad is) that I’m partial to (automatic buttonholes). But, I won’t be there for another month.

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We had our 180 person wedding reception a couple weeks ago and I did not wear my wedding dress. I wanted to. But, umm, well. It just didn’t fit. Here’s the thing, pre-wedding I was traveling to China, stressed out and purposefully dieting to lose a few creeper pounds. And the end of last year and the beginning of this, I was engaged in a grief spiral that was best soothed with wine, french fries and Otterbein cookies. I tried on the wedding dress and Jordan said, ‘You’re not going to be happy with this this.’ And he was right. I wasn’t.

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So, I wore the cream dress from the rehearsal dinner that I had made in China.

It’s a beautiful guipure lace and a copy of a Valentino dress. That weekend of trying on dresses and finding that most didn’t fit was a good wake up call for me. I’ve cut out weeknight wine, processed food, refined sugar, treats, snacks etc. I’ve also started exercising again (I’d gotten off track due to a sprained ankle, pulled back muscle, a bout with the flu, two infections — honestly, my body kind of shut down mid December and has only started to cooperate the last two weeks). I’m pretty good now. It was just a bad few months. The party was a lovely start to this next phase.

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My dad  (above left) came in to town. He was kind of the life of the party. He’s talking about getting on to Facebook. Which means I will likely need to get off.

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My inlaws who threw the party (Ugh. I look a little like a stuffed sausage)

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This dress has a side zipper. I asked for that so the lace motif in the back was maintained. But, it is a beyotch to get in an out of.

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And you all know my bestie Trena. Plus Lisette, Robin and two other ‘internet sewing friends’ who don’t have blogs (Shirley and Elizabeth — who is also a neighbor!) were able to come. That’s the nice thing about having ‘just’ a reception. We were able to invite WAY more people than say to ‘just’ a wedding.

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All in all a wonderful wonderful time. We had friends and family from all over (New York, Chicago, DC) come in to town. That’s my oldest brother and my neice with me above.  It was a little overwhelming and a whirlwind. But, I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

Oh! In honor of going old school and ordering an actual wedding album last week, I made a gif (below). I cannot express to you how proud I am of accomplishing this. The gif I mean.

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Even though I ‘own’ all my photos I still got a photographer’s album.  One of my fondest memories as a kid was going through my parent’s wedding album and asking them questions about people and what was going on. Plus, this way I can force everyone who comes over to look at my photos.

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We’re visiting Jordan’s brother in NY soon. I need fabric for a black tie dress event at the end of the April, tuxedo vest fabric for Jordan for the same event (buying a tux was expensive enough) and a second black tie dress for middle of May. Pray for sewing inspiration and good fabric finds. I am terrible fabric shopping under time constraints. Or, when people are watching / waiting on me. Never mind two dudes in the garment district.

OK. Back to the 30 thank you cards I still owe!

Posted in Life, sewing

2013: The Year In Which I Sewed the Least

For the first time in seven years of blogging, I have no year end recap. I haven’t sewn this little since I was in college. This year was an emotional roller coaster. From the Ravens winning the Superbowl, taking a new job, getting engaged then married within seven weeks to losing my mom within three months of her diagnosis and the Ravens not even making the playoffs for the first time in like five years.  I’m feeling kind of… battered to be honest.

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Over the weekend my friend Liz came over and we started folding fabric. And folded. And folded. While what is on the shelves represents about three bins of fabric, you can see I have many more to go (and two aren’t even pictured)! I’m going to need to buy a second shelf shelf about three feet wide from Costco/ Sam’s Club. And convince Jordan that folding is fun.

Oh, I was in NY for work yesterday and bought a some necktie material at Mood. Yes, I’m going to make neckties again 🙂  But, I managed to leave $75 worth of fabric on the train!! After several frantic calls  (starting at 12:30 a.m.) to Amtrak’s lost and found in DC, Baltimore and New York, my bag turned up! Trena’s going to swing by Union Station in Washington and get it for me. I’m considering this my Christmas miracle.

Anywhoo. My dad is here visiting for the holidays and we’re off to the movies then drinks with friends and dinner with more friends. I can’t believe how much my life has changed from this time last year. And, who knows that 2014 has to offer? I’m hoping many more weekends at home with my sewing machine.

Happy New Year my friends.

Posted in Life

“I Am At Peace”

There are many things I want to tell you about my mom. About how she bought me my first sewing machine. How she avidly read my blog and encouraged my writing. How I called her at least once a day. How she remembered information about my friends and would ask about them individually.  There’s the way she would call me from Korea in the middle of the night to ask me how to double space her documents in Word. Or, wake me up on church morning to do her makeup or curl her hair. There’s also that point in my life when she started seeking my advice — while continuing to give hers.

But, I am so very afraid of not being able to fully capture how remarkable she is and how very much I will miss her that I hesitate to say more than, she was my best friend.

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Thanksgiving, 2011

We lost her this week and my heart is literally broken. I’ve posted her obituary here. My mom, ever the planner, wrote the bulk of it herself.

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April 2011

This time last year, we were talking about her visiting this Christmas to go to the seasonal decorations at the White House. My mom always said, “Tomorrow isn’t promised to you.” She was right.

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New South Wales, Australia

When  she told me her diagnosis, I broke down in hysterical tears and told her how much I loved her. She told me she accepted what would come next and  said, “I am at peace.”

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My friends, time is a precious gift. I am so thankful I could say good bye.