Ginger Made: Alder Shirtdress, v. 2!

Guys, I’m addicted to this pattern! As soon as I finished my first version of the Alder Shirtdress, I cut out a second one, this time in a treasured print! This is a Vlisco cotton that’s been in my stash for nearly a year, just waiting for the perfect project! Sadly, this particular print is sold out, but there are tons of gorgeous ones just waiting for you (look at this beauty!!! LOOK AT IT!!! Just don’t look at the price… I’d have to sell an organ to pay for this fabric, but WOW, it’s lovely!)

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

Part of the reason this fabric has been in my stash so long is that it’s such a large-scale print. It really looks cool when it isn’t broken up, but it’s a little challenging to use in a garment. I thought this pattern would be a nice one for it, but now that I’m looking at the photos, the effect in the front of the dress is kind of dizzying. There’s just a little too much going on! If I’d thought of it in time, I would’ve changed this up to make it a popover (instead of buttoning all the way down) to dial back the chaos. Since I didn’t do that, I may go back and remove the pockets. I like the pocket detail, but the dress looks so busy!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I really like the back, though! Seriously, look at the size of that starburst pattern! Crazy! I love it so much!

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

OK, here’s another nitpicky thing- I didn’t notice in my first version, but I’m getting some bubbling in the front high bust area. I probably need to adjust the pattern to fix that, but I felt like the shoulders fit well, so I’m not 100% sure what to do there. It’s not a huge problem, but I should probably work it out before I cut #3 out.

Grainline Studio Alder Shirtdress | Ginger Makes

I decided to try a different method of finishing the armholes, but it didn’t work out as well as I’d hoped. I shouldn’t have strayed from the instructions! Other than that, I didn’t change anything in my construction. I forgot to mention last time, but I followed Andrea’s collar construction order- that’s become my default process for collars!

Pug belly!!!!!

I’m forcing myself to set this pattern aside (long enough to make a shirt for Man Friend, at least), but I’m really tempted to go straight into version #3! It’s true love!

Peggy says hi!

What are you guys sewing? Anything fun?

 

 

Book Report: Felt Dogs!

Hi, guys! Before I dive into this post, I should warn you… you’re going to need your official Anti-Cute-Overdose Goggles to survive this! Put ‘em on and let’s go!

Ready?

You might be a little confused about why I’m reviewing a book about needle felting, but this should clear it up:

Pugs!!! The very sweet Patricia from Laurence King Publishing thought I might like to review Felt Dogs, and boy, was she right!  All she had to say was “pug” and I was in!  How cute are these fuzzy little guys?!

I mean, seriously.

The book is a brand-new translation from Japanese.  It walks you through the process of making felt dogs from gathering your materials to finishing with the perfect button nose. There are multiple breeds, and multiple poses.

If, like me, you don’t know much about needle felting, it’s the process of using a barbed needle to shape soft, fluffy wool roving into firm shapes. You just jab and jab and jab, molding it as you go.  As far as supplies go, you don’t need too many- a needle, a felting mat, and something to protect your fingers, and then you just need roving. I’d love it if any readers who do needle felting could chime in with any good places to source these supplies!

I’m sure this isn’t for everyone, but I’m just loving these projects! You can make a beagle:

A chihuahua:

A corgi (my mom’s favorite!):

Or even a dachshund (paging Pretty Grievances!!!):

I can imagine a younger version of myself getting really into this. It seems like a great activity for older kids or teens who are responsible enough to handle a sharp needle.

Now comes the fun part! As usual, Laurence King has provided a copy for one of my U.S. readers! If you want to win the book, leave a comment letting me know you want to enter the drawing. I’d also love to know your favorite breed of dog!  I’ll close the giveaway on Friday, April 11th at 11:59PM EST and draw a winner right away. Yay!

And look- the book even gets the rare Pug Seal of Approval (usually reserved for plush pillows and Goldfish crackers)!

Watch This Lace Sorbetto Top!

Hi, guys! I’m so thrilled to be participating in Marie‘s Watch This Lace project!  Marie is one of my absolute favorite bloggers, and I had such a blast making a garment with her precious vintage lace!  Alright, enough chit-chat.  Hop over to her blog and read my post here!

Man Friend: “You’ve got to get the gator head into your photos!”

While you’re at it, wish Marie a happy birthday!  She celebrated her 30th yesterday– woohoo!

Obligatory pug photo

2012 Holiday Ornament Exchange: Holly Jolly Pug Tutorial!

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I’m so thrilled to be part of Kelli‘s 2012 Holiday Ornament Exchange!  Nine bloggers are making Christmas tree ornaments for each other and sharing tutorials on our blogs t0day!  Look who else is playing along!  How cool are these gals?!?!

Mika of http://savorystitches.blogspot.com/
Suzanne of http://mybeaubaby.blogspot.com/
Miranda of http://www.onelittleminuteblog.com/
Megan of http://blog.megannielsen.com/
Jen of http://grainlinestudio.com/
Dixie of http://dixiediy.blogspot.com/
Madalynne of http://www.madalynne.com/
and of course, our lovely hostess, Kelli of http://www.truebias.com/

Be sure to hop over to their blogs and check out their tutorials, too!  Kelli is one of my absolute favorite bloggers, and she’s one of the sweetest people I’ve ever met.  Thanks for asking me to be a part of this, girl!

You guys could probably guess that I’m a Christmas person– I just love it!  Putting up a Christmas tree is one of my favorite things about the holiday.  It’s just so fun to unpack all the ornaments and hang them on the tree one by one, remembering past Christmases and all the special memories attached to each one.  I have many fond childhood memories of making Christmas tree ornaments with my mom and my aunt, so I knew that I wanted to make something very simple that kids could enjoy making, too.  I opted for a flat felt ornament that would be layered a bit to give it a slight 3-d feel.  It’s very childlike and goofy (like me!), and modeled after my pet puggies!  (I can’t help it– I’m hopelessly addicted to my little snorters!)

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Here’s what you need:

  • felt (tan, brown, black, red, and white)
  • felt/fabric glue and/or
  • matching thread & needle
  • ribbon (8″ length of 1/4″ ribbon for each ornament)
  • googly eyes (optional, but don’t tell Man Friend that I said that***)
  • faux fur (optional, but you can use it in place of white felt)
  • pattern (download it here! Please forgive that it’s hand-drawn and messy– I’m not proficient with Illustrator, and I’m no artist!)
Pug parts!

Pug parts!

1.) Print out your pattern (make sure the scaling is off unless you’re trying to get fancy and make a mega- or teensy-pug!) and cut out the pieces.  Place the pattern pieces on the felt and trace around them– a Sharpie works well for this!  Just cut off all the ink!

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2.) Lay down one of the body pieces.  Fold the ribbon in half and secure ends to the body with a couple of stitches, forming the loop hanger.

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3.) Next, glue a hat piece to the body, matching edges and covering up ribbon ends.  Secure with a few hand stitches (or you may choose to only sew and not use glue at all, in which case you’ll need to stitch around the perimeter) and knot on the wrong side.  Add the ears, eyes (whites first), muzzle (lower first), hat fringe, and bobble, in that order.  Place the upper muzzle slightly on top of the lower so you have a little overlap between the two pieces.

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4.) Take your second body piece and flip it over so it mirrors the front.  Glue/stitch the hat piece to it.  Add the fringe and bobble pieces.  Finally, add the tail, but secure it only with a few stitches at one end so the rest is loose to form a curly pug tail!

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5.) Glue/stitch the front to the back, hiding knots between the layers.  At this point, you can secure a jingle bell to the end of the hat if you’re so inclined.

You can see the detail better here-- I like to stitch the muzzle with a few short stitches at the top to suggest a little nose.

You can see the detail better here– I like to stitch the muzzle with a few short stitches at the top to suggest a little nose.

6.) Display proudly, and have a holly jolly Pug-mas!

Pug butt!

Pug butt!

****Man Friend believes that googly eyes are NEVER optional, as, “…you can stick googly eyes to ANYTHING and it will be hilarious!  Try it!  No, right now!”

Holy cow, it's true!  That's hilarious!

He’s right! It IS hilarious!

He further recommends that you place the eyes a little too close together and a bit askew for a little extra derangement (should that be your goal).

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I do not recommend, however, that you get long, crazy fur for your pug hats (unless you want your ornaments to look more like confused canine wizards).

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fail

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed the tutorial!  Again, be sure to check out everyone else’s tutorials if you’re looking for some fun holiday projects!  Now excuse me while I go sit by the front door waiting for the mailman to bring the ornaments the other girls sent me (don’t worry– I won’t get bored… I’ll probably still be peeling felt glue off my finger tips when the packages arrive).

Ginger Made: NL 6022 (or, The “See Ya Next Summer” Dress)

Guys.  It’s fall now!  Sure, the calendar says we’ve still got a few more summer days left, but there’s a chill in the air and a sadness in my heart that can only mean that sunny, warm days are coming to an end.  (Yeah, yeah, I get it, everybody looooooves autumn and sweaters and leaves and what not, but I work outside and I HATE the cold, so I’m always a little bummed when temperatures start to dip).  So, I thought I would squeeze in one last summer dress, even though I probably won’t have a chance to wear it until next year.

I used New Look 6022, view C.  I snapped up the pattern during a sale at Jo-Ann right after seeing Rochelle’s cute version of this dress, but I didn’t have time to whip one up until recently.  I skipped making a muslin, instead deciding to measure a dress I own with a similar silhouette and choosing a size based on those finished measurements (size 6 on top and a 8 on the bottom– there’s tons of ease in this pattern!).  I forgot to take a photo of the inside of the dress, but this is my neatest make by far– it’s finished completely with French seams and bias tape, so it should be able to take a beating!  I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it (although you shouldn’t… I’m a liar).

This is exactly the kind of dress that I wished for all summer long– super easy to pull on, cool, and completely no-fuss.  Sure, maybe it’s a little shapeless and plain, but I don’t really mind that in an everyday dress.  I used a linen I bought a year or so ago from Belraf Fabrics on the Lower East Side, so score one for stash-bustin’!  I made the fabric belt shown on the pattern envelope, but I dunno… do you guys find that self-belts/sashes look a little… homemade?  It was sorta bulky and not very elegant, so maybe I’ll wear it sometimes, but for now I kind of prefer it paired with a narrower belt.

If I make this again (and I probably will), I think I’ll skip the keyhole opening, like Rochelle did.  I’m realizing that I really hate them– my hair always gets snagged on the button!  And because this fabric is light and really drapey, the keyhole sags and looks a little gross (probably from the weight of the button, but I suspect I’ve got a bit too much width in the back shoulder area, too).  I’ll probably go back next summer and stitch it up.

Eww! Ugly keyhole!!

What have you guys been sewing lately?  A swan song for the season’s end?  Or have you jumped headfirst into the next season?

Also… in case you were wondering who/what was at the end of the leash…

Her tail moves faster than the speed of any camera shutter!

… it’s Peggy!  I think she would look amazing in a matching coral sundress, but THAT WOULD BE CRAZY.  And we are all about sanity, sobriety, and responsibility in these parts… not pugs in people clothes, y’all.

What I’m trying to say is that I really wanted to make a matching dress for Peg, but HOLY CRAP, IS IT HARD TO MEASURE A WIGGLY DOG!

 

 

Out-Of-Towners

I played host today and yesterday to a childhood friend of my brother’s and his wife who are passing through NYC.  Here’s the conversation we had while riding the subway and looking at the map this afternoon:

Friend: “Where’s Madison Square Garden?”

Me: “Over here by Penn Station.”

Friend: “Where’s NYU?”

Me: “There, in the Village.”

Friend: “Where’s Mood?”

Me: “… ???????????????!!!!!!!!!!”

YES.

This guy races bikes, drives fast, plays hockey, and downhill skis faster than I’m willing to drive my car (seriously… I’d tell you how fast, but it would just make your palms sweat unnecessarily), but his favorite show is Project Runway!  He and his wife are hoping to meet Swatch, the Mood dog, next time they’re in town.  Amazing.

Doug and Peggy would like you to know that they don’t think Swatch is all that cute.

Ginger Made: Vintage McCall’s 5995, or the Mello Yello Dress

Holy guacamole!  It’s hot out there, folks!  It’s the kind of humid heat where if a guy so much as looks at you cross-eyed, you could gut him like a fish mumble to yourself angrily long after he’s out of earshot!  But luckily, this weather can’t bring me down ’cause…

I’ve got a brand-new dreee-eesss (sing to the tune of “I’ve Got a Golden Ticket”… it’s your new favorite song!)!

This is a super-UFO… the dress that I started working on for my class with Gertie back in July!  I’m pretty slow, so I didn’t finish it during the four class sessions, and then I just couldn’t work up the energy/ambition to figure out the kickpleat thing in the back.  But I’m so glad I finally finished it!  I really like it, even though it’s not perfect.

The pattern is McCall’s 5995 from 1960, and I love the style!  I thought I would have to grade it up to get it to fit, but there was sufficient ease in the pattern that it ended up fitting really well without any major changes.  I shortened it by a few inches and lowered the neckline cause it was Choke City before I did (although I could have lowered it a tad bit more– it’s SUCH a high neckline that I’m pretty sure if I bend forward in it I’ll get strangled).  The only thing I’m not that happy with are the bust darts– I iron them nicely, but then the minute I put the dress on, they’re back to looking bunchy and weird.  My suspicion is that this is happening because, ahem, I’m not quite filling out the dress.  I suppose I could take in the side seams a tad to get a snugger fit, but I didn’t really want it to be tight and risk button gaping (one of my pet peeves).  I can live with it as is (or I guess I could wear a bra with a bit more… volume?).

The pleat thingy lays a bit flatter in real life… I think it turned out OK.

I used a light-to-medium-weight cotton that I bought at Tissus Reine on my trip to Paris last summer (ack, I wanna go back NOW!!).  It was just the perfect weight– not at all heavy, but definitely not sheer, and in a FAB nuclear yellow-green color to boot!  The pattern includes a tie belt, which I made just for kicks, but it’s kinda cute, so I may wear it after all.

Take the picture and quit cracking jokes, photographer!

I got to try out a few new techniques with this dress– it was my first time using a vintage pattern, doing bound buttonholes, doing a pleat in a lined skirt, and inserting a regular zipper.  It was the first time I used fabric-covered buttons, too, but I can’t truthfully claim that skill because Man Friend covered the buttons for me!

Guts (bodice front)

I serged the raw seams, except for the ones that I had sewed last summer (they were French seamed or turned-and-stitched).  If this photo looks a little wonky, it’s because the facings were annoying as all get out, so for the left armhole, I just faced it with some bias tape I had laying around to keep the facings out of the way of the zipper.  I ended up blind-hemming the first armhole facing and the neck facing to the bodice of the dress because they just wouldn’t stay out of the way, even when I stitched in the ditch at the shoulder seams.  Blerg!  I’ll probably skip facings altogether on the next dress and just use lovely, clean, neat bias tape.

Guts (back)

The skirt is lined with a very strange material… I’m really not even sure what it is.  Some sort of acetate, possibly?  I went into Mood last summer (when I was more clueless about fabric types) and asked for lining material, and they gave me this stuff– it’s got an element of stretch to it, which is probably what I wouldn’t have chosen if I bought it today, but it works totally fine.  The pattern suggests stitching a seam binding waist stay onto the waist seam to discourage stretching, so I did that.  I used seam binding to finish the hem, then hand-stitched a blind hem, which I’m pretty proud of.  This is definitely the nicest (and blindest, ha!) hem I’ve done to date.  If you’re wondering what the little white square is just above the waist, well… I had a bit of a serger accident.  I was humming along, finishing my seams, when a bit of the bodice fabric got tucked up under the seam and the serger ATE A HOLE IN MY DRESS BODICE.  Now, drama queen me of 6 months ago probably would have freaked out, cried, cut the entire dress into ribbons, and set it on fire, but I calmly approached it with the poise and white-lipped determination of a field surgeon fear, trembling, and a little swearing, and came up with a hillbilly fix.  I cut a tiny piece of fabric to fit the hole and ironed a square of fusible interfacing onto the wrong side.  Then I dotted Fray Check around the raw edges and hoped for the best.  It’s really not very noticeable, and hopefully it won’t fray over time.  If it gets worse, I’ll probably stitch up a wider belt and just cover up the mess with that.

Overall, I’m happy with this dress.  The color is so cheerful and fun, and it feels good to have defeated a long-lurking UFO, one that’s been looking at me accusingly for some time.  Plus, who doesn’t LOVE HAVING A NEW DRESS?

What are you guys up to these days?  Working on anything fun?  Hope you Americans had a lovely three-day weekend!  If you guys see fewer blog posts from me in the future, it’s probably because it’s really distracting trying to type with my assistant (and that’s the other assistant parked just inches from his fan):

I’m not bothering you, am I?

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