Posted in Sewing, Uncategorized

An Army of Emerys

Over a year ago, I decided to start making some special occasion dresses because 2017 was very busy with weddings and wedding related events for us. I hadn’t made a dress for myself for a special occasion since senior prom because I decided to make sewing my career and for a while it was hard to want to sew for fun at home. Thanks to TrishStitched, I now love indie patterns and the online sewing community but am lazy when it comes to cutting and assembling PDFs so I called on Christine Haynes’ Emery Dress (yay sleeves and a high neckline!) to get me through and just stuck with this one pattern. For all of these dresses, I cut a straight size 4 and then took out 2″ from the top and tapered to 1″ at the waist in the center back. I like to call them my little army because this pattern really pulled through in getting me through all of these special events!

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I made this first dress for my friend Larry’s wedding in October. At first, Larry’s cake was supposed to be gold and navy and I wanted to match the cake because cake is delicious and who doesn’t want to dress up to match a pretty cake? So I bought this Rifle Paper Co. Fabric from Cotton + Steel…and then when I got to the reception the cake was a different color. White, I think? Doesn’t matter. I still really liked wearing this dress and it was a really beautiful day watching one of my best friend’s marry the man of his dreams.

(Pictured above are some details from the wedding but not too many because I’m awful at remembering to take pictures. Everything was so beautiful and there was a live band that really got people dancing.)

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This Emery dress is also made out of a Rifle Paper Co. print for Cotton + Steel. A couple of months before Larry’s wedding, I realized I might need a dress for his rehearsal dinner. So I made this dress but without sleeves because I was a little short on fabric since I only bought two yards to make the free shipping requirement from Fabric.com when I was purchasing fabric for other projects I was sure I wanted to make. But I love tea, so anything with tea related paraphernalia on it is A-OK with me. It also fit the Beauty and the Beast theme of my friend Rose’s bridal shower the month before Larry’s wedding!

(Pictured above are some of the gorgeous details from the shower. Her bridesmaids really did a fantastic job! (And if you look closely, you’ll notice that my chalkboards got some more time in the spotlight at this shower as well!)

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I made this dress over the summer for a wedding we attended on Labor Day and then took it out again to wear for Rose’s rehearsal dinner just this past Saturday. I decided to try the half sleeved version for this one and then thought it looked weird on me so I gathered the bottoms just a little bit to 1/4″ bands to bring them in a little rather than cutting them shorter. I probably should’ve just made a casing and inserted elastic because the bands were just a little too tight but I always get a lot of compliments when I wear this dress so whatever. (If you look closely, you’ll notice my shoes are soaking wet from the snow that was falling the night of the rehearsal dinner!)

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This final dress was made for Rose’s wedding. I liked the look of the metallic fabric from that first dress in this post so much I decided I wanted another metallic dress for Rose’s wedding. So I just went ahead and ordered the first thing I liked from Mood Fabrics. Then it came in the mail…and it was SHINY! I guess the first dress was a lot more subtle because the metallic is just printed on but this one was woven with gold lamé. So I was nervous I’d look like I was trying to upstage the bride and bought this cardigan to wear over it to try to tone down the shininess of it (and also because it’d probably be cold out and it was!) But since it was around Christmas time, there were a lot of women wearing shiny dresses also so I had nothing to worry about! The front neckline was a little poofy because this fabric was a little difficult to work with and I guess something funny happened when I ironed it or cut it out. I really should have scooped it out a little bit but, again, I’m lazy so I left it and I swear it was fine if I threw my shoulders all the way back. I just panicked when Kevin took this picture because I’m awkward and at the last second decided to just pose with my hands in my pockets as I usually do in these dresses.

So here are some tiny pictures to prove that the neckline was fine if my shoulders were back. I swear! Also, doesn’t Rose look GORGEOUS in that center picture?!

Above are just some of the beautiful details from this wedding. It was probably the most gorgeous wedding I have ever been to and there was SO much food! I was really hating my dress towards the end of the night because I could hardly breathe after all the food I stuffed in my face!

So there it is, 2017 wedding season is officially complete and it was such an honor and joy to be a part of so many of my best friends’ big days!

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Posted in Sewing

A Tale of Two Toaster Sweaters

When I first bought the Toaster Sweater 2 pattern by Sew House 7 from Indiesew last year, it was because it reminded me of the sweater in the pictures above that was for sale at Anthropologie at the time. Seeing as that sweater was somewhere around $80-90, I decided to try make my own instead.

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My first go at this pattern, I used this ponte knit that I found at Chic Fabrics in the Garment District. As a big fan of Marcy Harriell‘s blog, I’ve seen her talk about this fabric shop a lot. So one day while I was killing time during my dinner break, I ventured into the Garment District and when I saw the sign for Chic Fabrics, I decided to go in based on her recommendation. I found this fabric that I thought would make a great Toaster Sweater 2 because I thought it had nice structure and the color was pretty. (It reminded me of my favorite sweatshirt that I accidentally got bleach on at work once and then desperately tried to repair. The agony!) I really wanted to copy the sweater that inspired me to buy the pattern to begin with, but that would have to wait until…

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I bought THIS fabric from Stylemaker Fabrics that STILL doesn’t match the original. I was torn between the red striped print and the blue striped print of this knit terry cloth fabric and in the end, I decided to go with the red because I wanted to be a little different and I feel like I already have a lot of blue in my wardrobe. However, I didn’t anticipate this one coming out looking a little bit like a candy cane. But, hey, at least it’s the right season for it. The stripes on the shoulder seams match up in opposite colors, but I’m pretty happy with how my stripe matching throughout the rest of the sweater came out. It took so many pins it looked like a torture device while I was working on it though.

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I have yet to wear my striped Toaster Sweater 2 because now I’m saving it for Christmas since it seems so seasonally appropriate. But I did wear the first sweater for my friend Rose’s bachelorette party where we took her to see The Radio City Christmas Spectacular and then went backstage to meet the camels afterwards! (You can just barely see it under my coat and everything, but it is so toasty. Marketing is real and this one definitely lives up to the name because the name is partly why I bought it…Hmm…Toasty…) So just for fun, here’s a picture of some camels…

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Posted in Sewing

A Flurry of Fens

A little over a year ago, I decided to treat myself to my first printed copy of an indie pattern for my birthday. I decided on the Fen Dress by Fancy Tiger Crafts, which I purchased through Indie Sew. I had seen it featured in a lot of Instagram posts and loved the relaxed, loose shape of it because I am really lazy when it comes to getting dressed and I want to feel like I am in my pajamas at all times- even when I am trying to look more pulled together by wearing a dress. The first one I made, I used this cute quilting cotton print I got at City Quilter in Manhattan a few months before they had closed. For whatever reason, I was really drawn to the print even though it’s anything but refined and I had just turned 28 when I bought it and should probably have been thinking about dressing more like an adult. As Kurt once said on Glee, “Rachel manages to dress like a toddler and a grandmother at the same time,” and when my sister and I first heard this quote, we felt like it perfectly described the way I dress as well.

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The second Fen dress I made was out of another quilting cotton by Cotton + Steel that I purchased from Craftsy. I probably shouldn’t have made so many dresses using quilting cotton because it doesn’t move very well. Whoops. This one has softened up a bit after being washed a couple of times though. When I made this one, I wanted the skirt to be a little longer because I felt like the front of the skirt on my first one was just a little too short. So I thought I’d lengthen it from the top but I forgot to lengthen the pockets as well! So I had to re-cut them. But now I have longer pockets to put more snacks in. So it was worth it.

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(^ That’s me wearing this dress on our mini-moon. I added swing tack belt loops to the sides so I could wear it with that belt without it sliding around.)

The third Fen dress I made, I used this cotton fabric that I purchased during our mini-moon from The Old Country Store in Pennsylvania. For this one, I thought I’d try to be a little different and add some piping to the pockets. For some reason I really, really wanted to buy some polka dot piping at one point and purchased three different colors from the Etsy shop On Trend Fabrics. So I used the navy blue yardage that I had in my stash. This time, instead of lengthening from the top of the skirt, I added length to the bottom and straightened it out.

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Unlike the first two Fens I made, this is a nice lightweight cotton and I love having a homemade memento from our mini-moon.

The most recent Fen dress I made is probably my most favorite. I had bought this Robert Kaufman gingham fabric from fabric.com with another project in mind but once I had washed it and kept looking at it sitting on top of my fabric pile, I decided it would probably make a nice Fen dress instead.

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I tried to pattern match the fabric around the pockets, and it is just the tiniest bit off, but not enough to bother me.

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I left this one hanging for a while because I just liked the way it looked in the corner of our apartment next to the pom pom wreath I made.

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And I was SUPER happy to wear this dress in front of a bunch of old ladders while Kevin and I were out antiquing last July. I don’t want to show my face because my hair looked bad, but just trust me, I’m wearing a BIG smile in this picture.

I just indulged in a lot of fabric sales online during Thanksgiving  weekend and I bought some grey double gauze from Miss Matatabi Fabric and I think it’s already telling me it wants to be a Fen dress as well…Maybe I’ll try the longer sleeve version this time though.