Hink for Ladies by MaeT

{December 4, 2009}   My First “Commission”

Hey all (and by all, I mean…my husband?) I know, I’ve not update even though I said I would. But I’m here now, that should count for something?

I’ve completed my first paid project! I made myself a very cute wrap dress for Easter last year, and ever since my friend Sally has wanted one. So, we found some amazing fabric at JoAnn’s and I got it on sale, because I’m like that:

It’s REALLY cute fabric!!  Jersey Knit, so a pain in the ass to sew with, but makes really nice clothes!  So got the fabric, cut out the pieces, and then Thanksgiving hit!  My husband and I hosted family from both sides, so it was hectic with planning, cleaning, cooking, cleaning and hosting.  It was a great time though and I’m so happy everyone made it!

So after the Thanksgiving rush, I was finally able to get down to business and make the dress:

It turned out really well I think!!  I sent it out in the mail today, so hopefully she will get it early next week!  It helped a lot that I had made this pattern before and worked with this type of fabric so I knew better what I could and couldn’t do!  I’m also really hoping that it fits!  Guess we’ll find out…once I get a pic from her, I’ll post that up as well!

I also finally finished my Harry Potter dress and wore it for Halloween.  I was Helena Ravenclaw:

It’s mostly finished anyway…it ended up being too big when I tried it all on!  So, my friend Trish and I did some quick fix tailoring and used some fashion tape to keep it up on Halloween night.  At some point in the future I’ll have to take the bodice apart to really bring it in, but for now it works.  I gotta say though, those sleeves were a B*TCH to put together and figure out! 😀


{May 11, 2009}   And it continues…

I have almost all the pieces cut out for my HP dress.  I forgot to bring my camera with the pictures, so I’ll have to post those later.  I all of a sudden realized that I’m leaving for the convention in 8 days!!!!! Um…yikes!  I’m going to be sewing like crazy every day this week and cross my fingers that I finish it in time and that it fits!  I’m a little nervous I won’t have enough time to finish, as I’m heading up to Minnesota to visit my parents on Friday…crap!  Okay – mission tonight, finish cutting out the rest of the dress and get at least to step 3 on the instructions.  I’ll let you know how that goes…

{May 6, 2009}   Slashing up my pattern

Hey all! I’m finally getting some work done on the Harry Potter dress. I spent Saturday morning with my fabulous and talented friend Kate, learning how to alter patterns.  First, she measured me to within an inch of my life (which is good, because I had NO idea how much I needed measured, how to measure it, or have the extra arm required to measure myself)!  Then we looked at the pattern and she showed me how to figure out how much more to add to each piece and where to add it.  She then said the best thing to me: “I don’t expect you to be an expert at this after one day.  You can come back and we can do this again.”  Thank you, thank you, thank you!  I did pick up a few things here and there, but for the most part, I’m still pretty lost!  Good to know I can ask for help and not feel like a dunce!

Anyway, she I and worked together (mostly she…) and fixed up a few of the pieces.  For the rest, she figured out how much needed to be added and I took them home to work on.  I finally got to that last night.  All the pieces have now been (hopefully) re-sized correctly and ready to be placed on the fabric for cutting.  Here’s a few shots of the work I did on one of the pieces last night:







Tonight…I cut out the fabric!  Oh, and I got some new contrast fabric.  I was at Hancock (of course, where else would I be?) and found this beautiful bronze-y colored Brocade.  That is what the contrast fabric was supposed to be.  However, when I initially got it, I had NO idea what brocade was and I couldn’t find a little sign in the store pointing me in the right direction, so I just got some “special occasion” fabric in a bronze shade.  The day after I bought it, I found a sign that said brocade and hit my forehead with a resounding “DOH!”  Anyway, I think the new stuff with look MUCH better.  I’m going to keep the other stuff, because I’m 99.9% sure the store only charged me for 1 yd of it instead of the 4 I bought.  There’s no way it was only $6 when it was on sale for $5.99 a yd.  I’m sure I’ll find a use for it at some point in the future!  I’m still looking for some 1 1/2″ flat ribbon trim though.  I bought some stuff, but I’m not happy with it, and it’s too small.  I’ve found the PERFECT ribbon with the blue and bronze in it, but it’s on back order and I don’t think it’ll come in before I need it, so I’ll keep looking.

Okay, that’s it for now.  Hopefully have more in the next few days!

{April 9, 2009}   Finished?

frontOkay, so I “finished” my dress last night. That’s in quotes for 2 reasons, 1) I still have to hem the bottom and 2) as with most sleevles dress/shirts for bigger women, the arm holes are cut WAY TOO BIG!!!  Why the hell do they do that?  Do they think we WANT our bras hanging out??  Seriously, the arm holes extend below where my bra is.  I’m not really sure how to fix it.  Normally I’d take it to my friend Kate to help me, but I have a Seder dinner tonight, Good Friday worship tomorrow and early Saturday we’re heading to Louisville for Easter.  I may try to do it myself, but I’m worried I’ll ruin the dress since I don’t know how to fix it really.  Any advise would be GREATLY appreciated.

Until then, here are some more pictures!

fabric1This is the fabric all laid out before I cut it…it really is a neat pattern.  I wasn’t terribly thrilled with it when I bought it, as I didn’t have many choices at the store for prints, but it really grew on me 😀

hole Here is the hole I expertly burnt into the fabric when I put the iron on it on it’s highest setting.  Live and learn!  The hole is pretty close to the seam, so hopefully no one will notice it.  Also, the iron managed to “cauterize” the hole in a way, as the edges were burnt so that I don’t think it’ll get any bigger than it is now…I hope…

backAnd here is a shot of the back of the dress.  I was trying to be funny and “model” while I was in it.  My husband graciously took the photos, but most of them you could see my bra through the ginormous arm holes, so I’m not going to put them up and spare all of your eyes from seeing that, oh, and I haven’t shaved in a while, so I’m also sparing you my hairy armpits!  You’re welcome.  😀

{April 8, 2009}   Update on my project…

swo_157cSo I have been working on my dress. And here is the saga:

1) As previously mentioned, I was working on a muslin version first, as this is the first thing I’ve made for me and I wanted to make sure I got the sizing right. Boy am I glad I did that! I finish the muslin mock up, went to put the damn thing on and couldn’t get it down over my ginormous boobs. Man those things are always in the way! Now, I can’t remember if I stated this already, but I had 2 copies of this pattern accidentally. I tend to stock up on patterns when they are on uber sale at Hancock and I’d bought this pattern two separate times on two separate sales. Unfortunately, I had purchased the same size both times, so I had to go and buy the damn thing AGAIN in a bigger size! ANGRY EYES! Luckily, again, Hancock is amazing and Butterick was on sale for 99 cents a pattern! Huzzah!

2) Okay, so got the next size pattern, found the size I needed and began the process of cutting and sewing again. This time the muslin fit (even though I had sewn pieces together in the wrong places and the seams on the top were messed up – 2 inside the dress, 2 outside the dress). It was just a mock up so it didn’t need to be perfect.

3) Now have set to the task of making the actual dress. It’s matte jersey and difficult to work with. Also, lesson learned the hard way – don’t set your iron on the highest setting and put it on matte jersey. It burns a hole in your nice beautiful fabric.  Balls. Hopefully the hole will not be too noticeable, as it is right by where the seam will be and it’s pretty small. Still very angry I did that though. Ended up doing the rest of the ironing on a low setting and put some muslin on top of it. My husband suggested the muslin bit, and I thank him for it!

4) The pattern calls for a “narrow hem” on the neckline, arm holes and bottom of the dress. Let me tell you, it’s a pain to do on muslin and worse on matte jersey. You basically end up ironing and hemming the same bit of fabric 3 times. The matte jersey does not liked to be ironed, it won’t stay down. I’m using lots of pins to hold it.

5) Okay, so I finally go the neck line hemming done and went to so the top bits all together. There is some gathering on the cross over top pieces to give it a “wrap dress” type of look. Easy enough. So I do all that, pin it all together and sew the first hem. You have to “double stitch” all seams (sew the seam allowance, then 1/4″ over sew again). I’m assuming this is because of the fabric I’m working with. So, not only are all the hems ironed and folded 3 times, the seams are sewn twice! I do the right side, both times. Then realize that I had just put the damn seam on the OUTSIDE of the dress instead of the INSIDE. Again I say – Balls. This was at about 9:45 pm last night and I decided at that point to just leave it and fix it tonight. I did manage to rip the first seam this morning before work though to save me some time tonight.

6) All in all, I really am enjoying this dress, don’t get me wrong! I’ve had a lot of crappy misfortune, but the pattern is very easy and there are only 5 pieces and 2 of them are the skirt that you just stitch up the sides and then attach to the top. All of the main work goes into the top. I have a few pictures and *fingers crossed* I’ll be able to show the finished project by tomorrow!

{April 2, 2009}   A new project…

I’m finally sewing again!

Every Easter Sunday morning I go to my closet and am disappointed that there is never a new Easter dress in there.   I then spend the next half hour wearing nothing but my under-roos and pantyhose, sitting on the bed pouting that I have nothing to wear.  I’ve decided to end that this year and am making an Easter dress to avoid my naked escapades – especially since I’ll be at my brother-in-laws house, and I don’t think his family would enjoy that too much!

To this end, I’m using a pattern I bought on sale at Hancock months ago: Butterick 5001


I’m making the sleeveless version of the dress, because I hate 3/4 sleeves and short sleeves.  I’ll only wear cap sleeves, long sleeves or no sleeves.  Unfortunatly, for the first time, Hancock Fabrics failed me in the fabric department!  This pattern has to be made with Matte Jersey or another Knit style of fabric.  Hancock only had solids in that type of fabric, and in eye blinding bright colors.  I decided neon yellow solid was not right for me, or for Easter Sunday at church!

I ended up going to Joann Fabrics to see what they had.  Once again, not much.  They did have prints, but only about 5 or 6, and I didn’t like the prints at all and they were not very “easter-y”.  I found one that would have worked, but it was $18 a yard!!  I only need 2 1/2 yds for this dress, but that’s just rediculous.  I ended up finding 2 on the sale rack that I liked, and actually, I also found the blue print shown above in the 3/4 sleeve version!  But I wanted something a bit more spring like.  I ended up going with this print:


Kind of reminds me of a monarch butterfly…it’s not as bright as I wanted, but it’ll have to do.  It was $8 a yard, so after buying the pattern, thread, “stay tape” (which I had never heard of and had to have the nice lady at Hancock show me where it was) and fabric the dress will cost me just a bit over $25!!  I could not go out and buy a nice dress that cheap so I’m pretty happy over all.

Last night I started working on a muslin mock up of the dress.  This is the first thing I’m making for myself.  I’m not really sure how the measurements and sizing work yet, so I wanted to make a practice dress first before I cut up the expensive stuff and it ends up looking awful and not fitting.  I burnt my finger on the iron (ouch!) and had to stop sewing around 9:30, as I have basement neighbors, but I got the whole top done.  Tonight hopefully I can get the skirt done and put it all together.  I don’t have any pictures, but I’ll try to get some up once the mock up is done.  If the muslin ends of fitting okay, then I’ll get started on the real thing on Saturday!  That pattern is very easy to follow and it sews up pretty quick, so I’m confident I’ll have it done well before Friday when I have to pack to go to Louisville, KY.  I’ll keep you all (4 or 5 of you) updated on the process!

{March 12, 2009}   An ambitious undertaking…


My frined Abbey and I will be geeking out this spring, attending LeakyCon 2009 – a Harry Potter convention being held in Boston in May.  While there, we will be attending the Ball so we’ve decided to both make dresses for it!  After much searching through Simplicity, Vogue, Butterick and McCalls I’ve finally found the PERFECT dress for the ball!  It’s Butterick 4571 from their costume collection.  My goal is to make it in Blue and Bronze for the Ravenclaw colors, as I claim myself to be in the Ravenclaw house.  I thought this dress would be perfect for it because 1) it’d be easy to work the 2 color scheme together and 2) it reminds me of the Grey Lady who is the Ravenclaw ghost in the books.

I’m going to have my friend Kate help me to do a bit of resizing of the pattern and to move the waistline up to an empire waist, as that is more flattering on me!

Wish me luck on this endevor!  Hancock is having a sale on special occasion fabrics right now, so I’m hoping to get it this weekend!  I’ll keep you all posted on my progress.  I may get some pics up of the dress Abbey will be making, too!

et cetera