Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Socialite Dress

I can't believe I forgot to tell everyone I finished the Anna Maria Horner Socialite dress!  Remember when I said I wouldn't be sewing until Jake and Kali were gone?  Well...I lied.  They were gone for hours Saturday and Sunday nights, which gave us plenty of time to watch movies, fart around on the internet and sew.  Well mostly I sewed and he listened to the machine.

I apologize for the crap picture.  There are few places in our apartment to hang something, so I keep resorting to the bifold doors near the bathroom.  I should just buy some of those 3M sticky hooks and keep one on the wall at all times.

I made it with Joel Dewberry Nature Valley fabric that I picked up at StitchDC in February.  To be completely honest with you, I wasn't very excited about sewing this.  I bought the pattern when I first decided to start sewing and picked up the fabric on a whim.  I put it off and put it off (and read the review at Sew, Mama, Sew millions of times) and finally said, "No more!"  And I went for it.

I'm...content with the results.  I like the look of the dress.  It'll work well into fall, if it ever decides to warm up here.  I don't like how I had to hand sew the facing.  That was awful because I'm a terrible hand-sewer.  I also don't like that the medium, though it said it would fit, is very, very tight across the chest.  I'm guessing the gathering has something to do with it, but it's also the saving grace: while it feels tight, so tight that Nicholas had to help me get it on and off, it doesn't look like it.  These boobs aren't going anywhere, so I'll just have to handle it.

In short, I'm not making another.  I'm sending my cousin Jesse the pattern and, if the facing didn't look so godawful, I'd send her the dress as well.  Oh well.  I'll get some use out of it, I'm sure.

So now I'm not sure what to do next.  I think I'm abandoning the baby clothes for my former co-worker because, well, I just don't care about it anymore.  I only cut out one fabric instead of all three, and if anyone I know is having a boy, I'll just finish them up pretty quickly for them.  I do have a charm pack waiting on me, so maybe I'll start that.  And I have my Betz White sewing class coming in just over a week, which I'm really looking forward to.  Vintage pillowcases becoming baby clothes and lady skirts?  Count me in.

(One final note: if anyone loves Tina Fey as much as I do, check out the review of her new book, Bossypants, over at Slate.  You don't need to agree with the message as long as you find the excerpts pretty effing funny.)

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Wednesday's Wish List

I should do these weekly.  Especially right before my birthday.  Yes.

Traveling With Pomegranates, by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor.  Light reading, am I right?  I haven't read a book since probably January because I just don't have the patience for it.  Even poetry!  Especially poetry.  I just want to read again, like a normal English major!

Lunch.  This picture was taken last night at California Pizza Kitchen, but because I have the leftovers for lunch, I figured I'd post it.  Also, it's 10:57 and I want lunch, but then again, I've been up since 6 after barely sleeping.  Oh yeah!

Some time to read my new magazines would be fantastic.  Garden & Gun and the Oxford American are two of my absolute favorite magazines--no more fashion magazines for me!--and I picked them up last weekend while Jake and Kali were here.  I skimmed them before sewing while they were gone Saturday night, but maybe this weekend I'll actually take the time to read the articles.  Hopefully they won't make me too sad.

You know what isn't in that picture?  Snow.  Sleet.  Rain clouds.  Frost.  That's because that picture was taken in warm weather.  Do you remember warm weather, mid-Atlantic region?  I know you must.  It's time to bring it back.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

I want to go back to warmth

I'm having the kind of day where I'm very homesick and feel kinda lonely, so instead of bringing down everyone, I'm just going to post pictures from the awesome weekend I had.  As I said, my brother and his girlfriend came to town and, while we didn't really go crazy, we had a great time.  Jake and I lived here when we were kids, so we got to skip out on rushing to the monuments and museums, and instead were able to go where we wanted, when we wanted. 

Magnolias near the National Archives.  As a Southern girl, I do so love my magnolias!

Skeletons at the National Museum of Natural History.  I've seen this exhibit (part of the permanent collection) countless times and always return.  It's really retro and the colors are just amazing.  Greens and oranges do wonders for a skull!

Ben's Chili Bowl, a D.C. institution.  I don't eat chili, but I do love fake cheese.

The National Mall.  Don't let the colors fool you; it is not spring here in our nation's capital.

I would like to thank my Evo's photo app for letting me take awesome toy camera pictures without having to actually lug around my Holga, as well as the WMATA and Potbelly sandwiches, for fueling us on Sunday.  Yum!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Friday

Man, still no followers.  I'm getting a little discouraged over here.

This Friday has dragged.  If I could manually stretch out the letters there, I would.  I feel like I've been at work forever.  It's probably only because Jake and Kali are en route to BWI as I type, so I'm naturally a little anxious, but there's no need to really rush home because it'll take another hour from the airport to my apartment, and by then I'll be home even if I leave late.  Which I won't.

I'll keep it light, because I'd like to get back to my blogs, but also because I accidentally took a picture of myself on my phone with flash and I'm temporarily blind.
  • I bought these fabrics today:
Joel Dewberry's Aviary 2 Collection Lattice and Cloud9's Naturewalk Collection.  Both are from Hawthorne Threads, which I love.  It bums me out that DC's seriously lacking in the fabric store department (StitchDC will never see my pretty little face again) but then I remember that I have great online fabric stores to sift through until I'm back home in the textile-rich South.
  • Is anyone else dying to get out of town?  I think the cold snap has given me cabin fever.  Too bad gas is practically the price of gold or I'd hoof it to Philly or Charlottesville for the weekend.
  • I can't sew again until the middle of next week because of the wonderful visit.  I love Jake and Kali; please don't get me wrong!  But I miss my sewing.
  • I think I've eaten a peanut butter and jelly sandwich every single day this week.  I'm eleven.
So that's that.  I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend, and I'll see everyone on Tuesday!

Thursday, March 24, 2011

It's only Thursday?

This entire week I've been a day ahead.  Today I thought it was Friday until like ten minutes ago.  I'm glad it's not, because I've yet to clean my bathroom or get ready for Jake and Kali, but the fact that it's Thursday kinda bums me out.

So I will have guests this weekend, as mentioned, and I'm not really sure what we're going to do.  We're all on budgets and I'm not above cooking, so we plan on staying in for dinner most nights--one night we'll go out thanks to the awesome gift cards Mom is sending up with them.  (Bottomless tostada chips, watch out.)  Besides that, we're all about the free, and they have tickets to two concerts in Baltimore, so they will be busy.

We plan on visiting the Holocaust museum, which I haven't been to since I was 13 and first visited DC, and then I think they want to see the American History museum as well, which I just visited in January and may skip.  I'm not sure yet.  Besides that, what to do, what to do?

Oh, yeah, okay.  We'll shop.

I read in the Washington Post Express on my commute this morning that the Junior League of Washington is having their annual rummage sale.  When I use "rummage" in conjunction with the Junior League, I need to clarify: there are Kate Spade dishes on the sales tables.  So yeah, this isn't Goodwill.  We're skipping the Hoops and High Heels Friday night dinner because that's when they get in, but the opening sale starts Saturday at 9 AM and you better believe I'm getting up early to get my behind over there.  I've already promised Kali some Starbucks, and hopefully Elizabeth will join. 

I just wish it was happening now, because I always get really anxious and panicky before an event like this.  What if I miss all the good sales?!  What if everything is a size 2 except for one rack that's a 6/8 and there's a mad rush for it?!  What if something happens?!!!  So I basically need to chill the eff out. 

Until then, I will thrift online.  Or maybe just think about thrifting.  Or maybe I should do some work.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Intervention time

I'm trying to avoid this becoming a sewing blog because when I do things like that, I go fast and hard and then burn out quickly.  No such thing as taking it slow!  So let's talk about something else.


Well, here.  How about the weather?  I'm totally over these cold, rainy mornings, and I'm entering chronic depression from having my hopes dangled in front of me whenever we have a weird 70-degree day, only to have them crushed between Mother Nature's fingers when she decides she wants the next day to be 40.  Not cool, lady.  It's March 23.  March is supposed to go out like a lamb.  This lamb is sick and needs to be put down.

Also, did anyone watch the Beekman Boys last night?  We don't have Planet Green but I discovered that doesn't apply to onDemand, so I watched the first two episodes while Nick acted bored and pouted for the 45 minutes I watched it.  He can get over that.  As I told my mother, how can someone be bored with two gay men and a llama?  Impossible.  Anyway, they don't seem very happy, but I have to wonder if it's real or reality television drama.  They'll be in Georgetown this weekend, so I should probably ask over brunch.  (Oh, if only.)

Finally, I'm wearing a cardigan I bought my senior year of high school today and have gotten like three compliments on it so far. 

It's really hard to suck in while taking a picture of yourself.  Which is why I didn't do a good job.

Happy Wednesday everyone!  We can get through this week, I know it.  Time for some candy.

Monday, March 21, 2011

My first garment

I've been terrified of tackling clothes.  So far, I've made bags, nightgowns, and aprons, and several messes, but my small shoulders and short waist have scared the crap out of me.  I don't know how to alter patterns, I barely can sew a straight line.

But then I did it!

I was inspired by Spool Sewing's class on KwikSew pattern 3691.  I wanted to take it up there, but it would've been $70 by train, and probably more by car, plus the cost of class and materials.  Instead I spent $11 on the pattern and my mom gave me the fabric.  Can't beat it.  The fabric is Tina Givens for Westminster, and I'd say it's a few years old, because neither of us knew who it belonged to, it just was there.

I always look like a dork in pictures.  It doesn't help that we have an overhead dining room light that I use in the sewing room, and Nick used my phone to take the picture.  Eight megapixels and you'd think it'd make me look somewhat decent!

I made a few alterations--I sewed down the facings as well as understitching, things like that--but really didn't have a whole lot of hiccups along the way.  At one point my machine was misthreaded but that's my deal, not the pattern's.  I'm really pleased with how it came out.  I plan on wearing it with a cardigan and jeans for Casual Friday, but I can see it with my sailor shorts this summer.  If it ever becomes summer.  The Mid-Atlantic region is a harsh mistress.  (It was 40 and raining this morning on my walk to the Metro; it was 72 and sunny on my way home.  That's a great temperature for a wool coat.)

I plan on making more of these.  It took hardly any fabric and no notions besides thread and interfacing.  Not bad!

Oh, in other news, I finally got a Pinterest invite, so if anyone is on there let me know!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Lazy Fridays

It's a pretty quiet Friday here at the office, with people recovering from last night by telecommuting.  I'm not a partier (I spent last night reading The Sewing Bible by Ruth Singer and watching NBC) so today is one of those great days where I can take my time and do what I'd like.

First off, I'd like to mention how much I love Paper Source.  We don't have these in my homeland of Florida, but I first visited one in Old Town Alexandria about three years ago.  For someone like me, who is inspired by materials and color and tidbits, this is heaven.  I went last week to pick up birthday cards and wanted everything I saw.  I had to tell myself it was a ridiculous idea to send my mother more than one card for her birthday next week just because I liked so many.  I'm sure she would've liked them, but then I tend to look like a crazy person.

I saw this personalized stationary in their e-mail newsletter last night.  I must have it.

Ugh, it's so lovely I just want to squeeze it.  However, when we moved, I had a box just labeled "stationary," so I don't think I need anything else.  I wish I had more time to send cards, or more people to send them to.  I should really cut down on my supply so I can order more.

I'm also contemplating working on the Amy Butler Anna Tunic this weekend.  I've heard mixed reviews about it.  Alewives Girl says it's fine for a beginner sewer (which I still am, despite my speed lately) but the tutorials I've read recommend someone with a bit more experience.  Thankfully my mother and aunt will be together this weekend, so one call will have twice the advice!  Lucky me--if only I was with them!

I've had this Erin Michaels fabric sitting around for years, except the background color is pink--this was a Google Image search find, and I couldn't find the pink one!  I think it'll make a good cami-length Anna.  I'm terrified of it though. 

Lastly, my brother and his girlfriend will be here in one week!  I'm very excited to see them and take them to the Cherry Blossom Festival for opening weekend.  They have lots of fun things planned, including an Elton John concert, and I just need to figure out what to make for their birthday dessert.

After this conference call I'm heading to the District Taco food truck for some tacos.  Have a great weekend!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Luck of the Irish?

I even wore green today and apparently my luck has disappeared. 

My Metro stop is the deepest one in the system.  The station entrance is at-ground, but you have to take an elevator down 20 floors (it doesn't seem like it, but it is) to the actual station.  There's no running down the escalator or stairs.  You depend on the elevators, which are always broken down or slow, slow, slow.

So when I stepped off the elevator this morning (before 7 AM, thank you), I realized my red-line-to-Shady-Grove was stopped with the doors open.  So I ran.  I run once a year and this was it.

And the doors closed when I was within three feet.  The riders probably saw the look of absolute defeat that immediately graced my pretty little face.

That was a great start to the morning.  Here's a +/- breakdown of today:
+ It's St. Patrick's Day!  Which means that, as a redhead, I'm not an outcast for one day of the year.
+ My mom booked our hotel room for our trip to Atlanta in October.  We're going to the Country Living Fall Fair which looks like it's going to be completely awesome and wonderful.  I've already started checking out flights.  I can't wait!  (Can you tell I miss my mom?)
- 30 Rock is on tonight.  Normally this would be a plus but because NBC has moved it to 10:00 and I wake up earlier than staying up until 10:30 allows, I'm forced to watch it onDemand on the weekend.
+ I signed up for a sewing class being taught by Betz White!  It's in three weeks at Bits of Thread Studio here in DC.  I'm very, very excited and plan on making lots of pillowcase dresses for my cousin's daughter Gracie!
- It's not even 10:30 and it's been a ridiculously busy day already.  Case in point: I started typing this entry at 8:00.

I think that sums things up for right now.  How are you all spending your weekend?  Anything fun?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

DwellStudio lives up to its name

Because I'm still dwelling on some old favorites.  Does anyone else remember the chinoiserie DwellStudio bed linens, or is that just me?

Oh, how I loved it so.  But DwellStudio is expensive.  Especially when you're a college student trying to make a living working retail (as I was at the time).  So I settled for the version from the Target line, which was similar but in a very obviously-cheaper way.  When I washed the comforter, the colors bled and the stuffing never settled right.  I think it's sitting at my parents' house right now, probably gathering dust in the garage.

Anyway, I was reading True Up this morning and discovered DwellStudio's home dec fabric line.  The link takes you to True Up's blog entry about it, but you can also check out the line on Calico Corners.  When I was a kid, Calico Corners was kinda lame.  Maybe it was just because they're home decorating, but even the name makes me think of old women sewing table runners and knitting doilies.  However, my little bout of judgment was proven wrong when I went to check out this line of fabric.  They also carry Thom Felicia (I'm still a Queer Eye fan, and forever will be) and Ralph Lauren, as well as what looks like their house line that's pretty modern.  Especially for a place named Calico Corners.  And it's on sale right now!

I live in a small apartment and don't have too many home decorating projects planned, but a lot of the patterns I have, including Amy Butler's patterns, have material listings for home dec weight.  A Birdie Sling in the Vintage Blossom print?  Yes please!  As they say on Portlandia, put a bird on it.  (I'll never tire of that line.)

Note: I also discovered has DwellStudio's fabrics, but they aren't available until the end of April.  If you can wait, go for it.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Why Oliver + S patterns are so darn great

I'm not what you would call "kid-friendly."  In fact, most children are scared of me.  I verbally whip them into shape and transform little mongrels into angels for an evening.  Ask my aunt--her three grandsons stopped crying and whining and fighting long enough to decorate cupcakes one evening.  And it never happened again.

Anyway, I never wanted kids of my own because they tend to cramp my style.  I don't deal with dirty well and I really dislike make-believe.  I can handle glitter and Legos but that's about it.  Past that, you're on your own kid.

I always thought that...until I discovered Liesl Gibson's blog disdressed (also to your left) and decided she was the most modern, amazing mom ever.  She lives in New York City, her daughter has better outfits than me, and she can pretty much do anything--run a successful company (Oliver + S and now Lisette), entertain her daughter S, sew/craft/paint/draw/knit just about anything, and still find the time to recycle.  I don't have that energy now and all I'm responsible for is my cat Eleanor.

So I gave in.  I bought some Oliver + S patterns and her book, Little Things to Sew.  Once again, I don't have children.  Maybe someday, when I'm not afraid of having to sell them to pay my rent,  but not right now.  What in the world am I ever going to do with these?  Will they be out of style by the time I'm a mom?  Is Nick going to find them and think I'm insane?  (Probably.)

And then I look at them...and all is right in the world.

(from top to bottom: the School Photo dress, the Bubble dress, the Birthday Party dress.  All were taken from

Aren't they beautiful?  If Oliver + S had been around when I was a baby, I would've had these dresses.  They're classic and vintage without feeling dated or prudish.  They're how you want little girls (and boys, if you're shopping in the boys' section) to look: cute, innocent, not whorish or sexy too early.

So now I have these weighing upon me.  I honestly am looking forward to the day when I find out I'm having a girl so I can get started on them.  We probably won't be nearly as cool as Liesl and Tsia, but I'm going to try regardless.

Also: Nick shaved his beard tonight and I keep telling him I don't love him anymore because of it.  I have a feeling that will backfire soon but I'm going to keep it going for a while.

Starting Over, Yet Again

I think I am addicted to blogs.  I've had so many I've lost track of usernames and passwords.  I think I still have a Xanga floating around out there.

But here we go again.  I've deleted the blogs I can remember in order to start over.  I'm also making a vow to post in this more frequently than my other blogs.  I think the problem is I don't ever get comments.  That's incredibly disheartening, to work on a blog post and realize no one has read it.  I'm sure some people see it as freeing but there's a reason I'm writing here.  I want you to read it.  If I didn't want anyone to read it, it wouldn't be on the internet.  Plain and simple.

So here we go.  Welcome everyone!  I'll hold up my end of the bargain if you hold up yours.
Images by Freepik