Saturday, February 9, 2013

Simplicity 1776 Pattern Review

I made this dress way back in November (I know, I'm a slacker.)  I really like it, but had to make several alterations to the pattern.  I chose the longer sleeves, no pockets, and round neckline.

Simplicity 1776
I made this with a navy broadcloth base and a lace overlay.  Both came from Joanns.  The pattern was very simple and fun to make, so I thought it would be a nice one to practice my overlay skills.
However, although the pattern was simple it needed a lot of alterations to be something I would enjoy.  The first problems I knew before I started sewing: it is WAY short.  I had to add several inches to make it long enough for me.  The second was the exposed zipper.  Yuck.  I did an invisible zipper instead.  I also had to bring the neckline in a bit.
After I had sewn the dress and put it on, I saw more problems.  This dress is quite straight and shapeless.  I don't feel comfortable looking like a box.  I took in the sides at the waist but it was still pretty plain.  Then my brilliant husband suggested adding a belt.  I added a simple 1/2 in belt with a snap to hold it together and I think that relaly did the trick.  Overall, I love the dress, but it took a lot of alterations from the pattern to make me like it.  I'd suggest using the pattern as a base, but be aware it's something you might have to make some (or many) changes to.
Here is a rare photo of me, modeling the dress as I wore it to my husband's work Christmas party (the tights are navy, not black, I swear!):

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Simplicity 2226 Pattern Review

Another project I made back in December and am just getting around to posting.  This cute skirt was made with Simplicity 2226:

Simplicity 2226
This was another sale material, I believe it was a Red Tag Clearance from Joanns for $3/yd.  It is just a basic cotton with white, yellow, and red stripes.

The pattern is great!  I really recommend this one, especially for people who say they 'can't sew'.  It is a simple pattern for a great versetile skirt that is cute and comfortable (and has huge pockets! a plus!)  I had to lengthen it a bit, because I wanted it to go just below the knee, but that is a really easy alteration.  I also opted out of the belt loops and tie belt, just because I didn't like it.  I honestly whipped this whole thing together in I think two hours (including cutting) which is super fast for me.  The second I finished it I put it on a wore it to a class.  So again, if you want an easy cute and generally awesome skirt pattern, get this one. You won't be disappointed!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Simplicity 2599 Pattern Review

Okay I am way behind (as usual) in posting some pattern reviews.  I made this shirt with Simplicity 2599 view B back in December.

Simplicity 2599
I scored this material for $1/yd at Walmart. It is a chiffon in what I would call a 'dirty yellow' color.  I couldn't (and still can't) decide if the color is ugly or not, but for $1/yd, it was worth it.  The pattern was pretty easy to follow, and is made specifically for these silky shapeless types of material.  My main problem was in the back (I added a loop for the button, because a buttonhole just sounded tacky) and in the front flounce ruffles.  A flouce ruffle is made by using a circle or spiral piece and stretching the smaller end straight.  The directions called for HEMMING a CHIFFON CIRCLE with a 1/4 in hem. For the record, that is IMPOSSIBLE. I tried it. It wasn't going to happen.  So I ended up doing a fake thin serge with a buttonhole stitch.  The ends must be finished because the material frays very easily.
I highly recommend this pattern, especially if you want to attempt to make a nice shirt out of something silky.  Some hints for sewing this shirt with a silky material: PINS PINS PINS. pins are your friend. use a million of them. Also make sure they are new and very sharp, because most silky materials will pull if you put the pin in slightly wrong, or if you put a dull pin in.  Second: use a new #9 needle on your machine.  A dull needle will pull and look terrible, and a #9 is made for these kinds of thin silky things.  Finally: patience. you'll need it, but it will be worth it.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

My Journey Home part 4: Getting Organized

So I told you in a previous post that I was putting a schedule together to try to stay on track with my house cleaning and such.  I wanted to share that with you today and let you know how it is going so far.
First I want to say that when I first heard about a housekeeping schedule I thought it was pretty ridiculous.  Why not just clean what needs to be cleaned whenever it needs cleaning? Because then you will be cleaning all day every day and nothing will ever be finished. At least if you are me.  This is something that I based on what I learned reading the book 'The Art of Homemaking' by Daryl Hoole (one of the best books ever!)  She suggests certain chores that need to be done daily, and some that can be done weekly or bi-weekly.  So what I did first was determine what needs to be done daily.  I then split my house into 14 different sections.  I will focus on one section each day, so each room gets a good deep clean once every two weeks.

My schedule and calendar

My daily chores are:
-Wipe counter and oven
-organize kitchen table (a catch-all for mail and whatever else we bring into the house)
-a load of laundry
-vacuum downstairs rug (this could be done like 5 time a day.  That thing is abused!)
-make beds
-general pick-up of toys, putting dirty clothes in baskets, etc

Then my biweekly chores are:
-Master Bath
-Master Bedroom
-Master closet and laundry room
-Upstairs bath
-The kiddo's bedroom
-Sewing room
-Computer (yes, I counted cleaning up my computer files and organizing my blog, etc as a day of cleaning.)
-Living room
-Under stairs
-Guest bathroom and Pantry
-Dining area

I left the easier tasks for Sundays, and can push them into Monday if I feel it is too much work for a Sunday.

I listed everything that I need to do in each of those rooms so that I have specific goals to accomplish.
I also have printed out a calendar page for each month this year, so that I can keep track of tasks and appointments as well as which chores I need to do on which days.  The photo is what my calendar looked like on Friday.  Now it is quite full at least to the end of this week as well.

So far it has been going pretty well. I like having a specific goal written out of what to do each day, so I dont just wander around aimlessly cleaning and never accomplishing anything!  Yesterday I did the living room, which includes cleaning under the couch cushions and moving the couch and rug and cleaning underneath.  Guess what I found? The missing puzzle piece we looked EVERYWHERE for, the missing library book that I was going to have to pay for this Friday, $1 in change, and about an entire box of cereal that the kiddo had been hiding to make me think he ate his breakfast. (luckly he takes it dry with no milk!) It was a really great day!!  I also did 3 loads of laundry (which I hung to dry since our dryer isn't working at the moment), the dishes, ran errands, and made a lasagne before the hubby came home. Today is under the stairs day, which I am dreading.  (thats where all our shoes and jackets are dumped when we come in the house) But it should be fast which means I have time for more laundry, some sewing projects, and hubby requested leftovers for dinner (wahoo!) so no cooking there.