Author Archives: Alice

About Alice

I like clothes, theater, and boats.

relocation

Shannon (my mother) and I have decided to end the dual-blogging setup and return to our individual blogs. We created this one with one idea in mind, but it shaped up a bit differently, and it makes more sense now to disperse.

She can be found at Five Gallon Bucket, and I’m now at Today is the Day. All our sewing and quilting archives have been transferred over.

See you there!

~Alice

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Alma Blouse

Well, I’m back! What with school and all, I’ve hardly had time to sew, and it doesn’t help that both of my sewing machines are broken! I did make a Secret Santa present using the sewing machines in the costume shop, but other than that I haven’t been able to sew since I don’t know when. Now we’re in the middle of winter break, though, and I’ve been out in the country using my mom’s fancy Juki to make her an Alma blouse!

Alma and car

When Mother first bought this lawn, she described a fitted, vaguely medieval, possibly button-back blouse with 3/4-length sleeves. We decided that the Alma blouse had the right fit, and the sleeves were easily modified. It is also such a nice, versatile, modifiable pattern, and falls within both of our sizing ranges. I can’t wait to sew myself a version in white geometric-patterned cotton with a forest green yoke, or a little floaty summer blouse in lawn or voile with cap sleeves…

I cut a size 16, going by Mother’s upper bust measurement, and did a full bust adjustment. At first I added a total of three inches to the bust, but after the first muslin, I had to reduce the bust by an inch (interestingly, this happened with the last FBA I did as well–I’m really not sure why). I also did a forward shoulder adjustment of probably 1 1/4″.

Alma and car

I had a lot of trouble fitting the sleeves, and as you can see, they’re still not quite right. I narrowed the shoulders by about 5/8″, and put that fabric into the sleeve cap instead. I also did a full arm adjustment, and cut the sleeves on the bias. They fit a lot better in the lawn than they did in the poly-cotton sheet I was using for the muslin, and Mother can move her arms pretty freely, but I’m still not entirely satisfied. Sleeves are hard!

sleeve detail

In addition to changing the sleeve length, I gave the sleeves a little notch that matched the neckline. I trimmed both sleeves and the neckline with some homemade burgundy bias tape.

blouse and earring

Alma neckline

I attempted to do a swayback adjustment because of the wrinkles in back. I don’t think I did it right, but there are fewer wrinkles than there were…

Alma back

Alma zip

I used a regular zipper instead of an invisible one, for no particular reason. It is still pretty discreet. The belt shown here is the leftover burgundy bias tape.

Alma and car

I also made the skirt that Mother is wearing, which was last year’s Christmas present. It is something like a quarter circle, made out of something woven but stretchy from Fabric Depot. It matches the blouse perfectly!

I’m going home tomorrow with a borrowed sewing machine, to sew like mad until I leave for Ireland in a week! I’m hoping to make a shirtdress, two circle skirts, and to finish the Macaron I was sewing when my machine broke. And if I can accomplish all that, there’s a million other things I’d like to sew…but I’m trying to keep my to-do list short!

Cozy Corduroy Anna

At last, I have photos of a finished object! Expect more coming soon! After a summer of sewing, I have quite the backlog in my closet, and mean to get them photographed ASAP, before I forget all the construction details.

This is, obviously, the Anna dress by By Hand London. Mother bought the pattern and had it shipped to me, which was quite exciting, since I rarely get the chance to make a pattern while the blogging world is so abuzz with it. I’m not much of a maxi girl (too short), but the short version is such a simple, versatile sort of dress!

anna

anna back

I made it up in this cozy, soft corduroy from Fabricmart, with a fair bit of stretch (yikes, stretch!). The print is lovely, and reminds me a porcelain teacup, but I knew it had to be paired with very simple lines. The Anna dress is very simple, and a nice slim silhouette to boot. I’m very pleased with the overall look (and it goes smashingly with my blue beret, which I practically live in these days).

For sizing, I was a bit worried, as the smallest size is still a couple inches too big for my upper bust. I cut a size US 2 at the back, grading out to a size 4 at the waist. For the front, I cut a size 2 at the neck and shoulders, a size 6 at the bust, and a 4 at the waist, and took out half an inch horizontally a couple of inches above the bust. I cut a size 4 skirt.

I ended up sewing the side seams at 1 inch, to accommodate for the stretch. I also hemmed the sleeves shorter than the pattern called for, though I don’t know by how much. I’m pretty pleased with the sizing for the bust down, but it gapes something awful at the neck with regular movement, and the neckline is so wide as to be almost off-the-shoulders. I will definitely do some more alterations before I make my next one. I did make a muslin, but the neckline didn’t seem problematic.

anna inside front

My corduroy raveled dreadfully, and the only appropriate seam finish I could think of was french seams, so I french seamed it! They’re pretty bulky and don’t lay flat very well, but it’s not an issue while I’m wearing the dress. I bias bound the waistline seam and the back seam along the zipper with homemade bias tape from the teal sheet I used to make my shorts.

bias binding

anna inside back

From the inside it looks like the waistline seam doesn’t match up. It does, though, I promise!

handpicked zip

See? I didn’t have an invisible zip, so I just used a regular, hand-picked one. I like it.

anna bodice

At first I truly intended to match the stripes in this print, but somehow it didn’t happen. It mostly happened on the bodice, and I managed to get the front stripes lined up, but that’s about it. Luckily, the print is so busy, no one will notice.

Overall, I really like this dress! The stretch makes it so comfortable, and the corduroy’s really cozy. The fit issues are frustrating, but I’ll fix them for my next one, and they won’t stop me from wearing this one. I like the silhouette and the pleats-instead-of-darts (I used them on a couple of shirts I made this summer and I really like the look) and the boat neck! My current favorite t-shirt has a similar neckline.

I’m thinking of another Anna in lawn, perhaps with a slightly wider skirt for dancing. But in the meantime, my next project is a corduroy red-and-pink Macaron!

macaron fabrics

Anna Dress Sewalong!

I just got the Anna dress pattern in the mail a couple of days ago, in time to join the sewalong! I’ve never done a sewalong, probably because I never buy new patterns, but I’ve NO idea how to do an FBA on this kind of bodice, so I’ll definitely need some guidance. I’m really excited to start, especially since I feel like I haven’t done any sewing in ages.

In other news, these last few days have been cool enough to break out knee socks and my fuzzy blue beret! It’s back to the high 70s today, but I’ve really enjoyed having a little taste of fall dressing.

Little Brown Bat!

Browsing EvaDress today, I found this gem:

bat costume

Yes, that’s a bat costume from 1887. Yes, I bought it. No, I’ve never sewn a corset.

It takes about 20 yards of fabric (and you have to make a corset, AND a hoopskirt) so there’s no way this will be done by this Halloween (I’ll have to save up for a year for the fabric, not to mention learning the necessary skills), but I’ll definitely be wearing it next Halloween, and to any fancy dress balls I may attend in the future!

I could make this in black to be really traditional, but my favorite bat is the little brown bat, so I’m going to make it in brown, maybe with some fun variations in texture/shade.

I haven’t really done any historical sewing, and to be honest, I wouldn’t have picked the 1880s as the place to start, but this is just too good to pass up! Look at the bats on her shoes!

yellow!

corduroy

I scored this beautifully yellow corduroy today…

yellow pants

In the form of men’s pants!

I was costume shopping at JC Penney for the school’s fall mainstage production, and spotted these on the clearance rack for the low, low price of $1.97 (I told you it was low!). Now, my budget is tight, but all the more reason to snatch up fabric when I can get it cheap! Especially when it is yellow corduroy, so I bought it.

It’s a 40 waist, which is fairly large (the larger, the better, when buying garments for the fabric), but it is still definitely a limited amount of fabric. I’m not sure what to make out of it. Shorts? A skirt? The tiniest 70s a-line jumper for fall? Hmm…

yellow corduroy pants

Circus Shorts!

I’ve been wanting shorts all summer, but I didn’t want to spend money on a store pair. Shorts are exactly the sort of them that I would spend an hour trying on and considering, and then decide that it wasn’t worth it and I would just do without. So the obvious solution is to make some. If I don’t like them, then at least they provided entertainment value, and I didn’t spend money on them.

These shorts are really more of a muslin or a practice piece for future pairs of shorts, but I did make them, they are my very first pair of shorts, and I do on occasion wear them, so I thought I’d share them here.

Disclaimer: they are very wrinkly. Also, you can see the line of my shirt tucked in. Oh well.

teal shorts

teal shorts

I took the pattern off my best-fitting non-stretchy pair of trousers, which I got secondhand somewhere and which are clearly hand-sewn! I love them, and they fit really well except for a bit of gaping in the back waistband. I tried to eliminate that gape with the shorts, but they still do, a bit, and they are dangerously low-riseā€¦ It looks fine in the picture, but it can be uncomfortable to wear.

The fabric is a teal poly-cotton bedsheet. I meant to use the wrong side, which is less shiny, but halfway through inserting the fly I realized that the shiny side was going to be showing, and I didn’t have the heart to take it out when everything was going so well.

teal shorts

The waistband doesn’t match up quite as well as I had hoped. I don’t entirely know how it worked in the original trouser pattern, but I think it needs to be longer. The fly’s a little narrow, too, but I do know what went wrong there.

The hem does an amusing flippy thing. Something about it not being quite even, perhaps. I’ve made another, modified pair, which I finished last night, and it’s not really an issue with them, so I’m not sure.

Something about wearing shiny teal short-shorts can be really tricky. I believe with the right circus-inspired styling (lace tights, blousy top, vest tall boots) they could be kind of fantastic, but usually I just wear a longer top so there’s, well, less teal.

teal shorts

teal shorts

Now that I know what a few of the pattern’s kinks are, I have plans for a cuffed pair in green wool for wearing over tights in the winter. It’s still the heat of summer, but I fear limited sewing time once school starts, so I’ll have to finish my summer sewing list in the next couple of weeks and move onto my fall/winter one (haha! dream on).