Wednesday, April 16, 2014

30 is the new 20

2 weeks ago, I turned the big 3-0.  It is an odd transition for some reason, but a good one! One thing is for sure, I started this new year off feeling SO very blessed.  On the actual day of my birthday, my parents came up to visit as well as my husband's grandmother, and we all spent the day together and went out to lunch. It was perfect! That night, hubby's grandmom stayed with our daughter so we could go out.  We originally had plans to go to a certain restaurant but we found out a week before that they had just closed (still so mad about that!) so we were back to the drawing board.  We wound up with a last minute decision to go bowling, and it was amazingly fun!
Last minute bowling = last minute sock purchase

Birthday bowling selfie with the hubs 
A few of my family members got together to get me a new serger for my birthday.  A few months ago, I borrowed my mother-in-law's super old Kenmore serger to see if I really wanted one.  It has worked great and I've used it a lot more than I thought but I wanted something of my own, so they got me the Brother DZ1234 and I LOVE it.  

It's so shiny!
I haven't re-threaded it yet and have just been using the thread it came loaded with from the factory (cause I really wanted to just use it and I'm impatient like that) so I'll get back to you on how that goes, but everything else is great. I've been using it to try some new things, including the blind hem on my daughter's Easter dress and I used it to gather the skirt as well.  It also has this awesome gathering foot that gathers AND attaches at the same time, which I used for the chambray dress I also talked about in my previous post. 

I've still got to play around to figure out what settings to use for different ruffle ratios, but holy time saver, batman! I really want to take a class now on serging to see what else this puppy can do. 

Just when I thought my birthday couldn't get any better, the Saturday after my birthday my husband insisted on taking me out to a local craft fair.  We had a fun morning, but when we got home there were about 20 cars in our yard...turns out my husband also threw me a surprise party! He did such an amazing job, he got family, my best friends, friends from my mom's group, friends from his work and friends from church, pretty much all my favorite people, ALL to come.  I walked in and immediately started crying (and I'm actually tearing up just writing about it). Seriously, I could not have asked for a better group of people to call my friends and family, and to have them all there meant the world to me. To top it all off, he booked us a CRUISE! I've only been on one cruise before and it was with my besties right after college graduation. I've been telling him for years now that one day I want to go on another-so it's finally happening! We go the last week of April and I can't wait. 

So far 30 is pretty awesome...I told my husband he did too much in one year and he's going to have a hard time EVER topping it! I'm so very thankful for all the wonderful friends and family I have, especially the hubs who thought of everything to make my birthday perfect :) 

Monday, April 14, 2014

Mystery Challenge

Whew, it's been a crazy couple weeks around here! My birthday was on the first and we had a lot going on  so it took me a while to recoup and get the house back in order.  More on the birthday festivities later, but first let's talk about the Mystery Challenge we had in one of the groups I'm in!

Organized by Stephanie of Swoodson Says, we each got paired up with someone and exchanged a theme to work off of.  I got paired with the amazing Shawnta of Shawnta Sews who gave me a theme of making something based off a ready to wear look from my favorite store, (I gave her "The Circus" for some odd reason, but she's super creative and I can't wait to see what she does with that!)  I actually ended up making 2 dresses for my daughter for this because the first one I felt like deviated too much from my original inspiration, but I love both of them and both challenged me to try different skills, so I think it was a major success!

I'll start with the first one...I had been debating whether or not to make my daughter an Easter dress. I was feeling pretty lazy and had a bunch of other stuff I wanted to do so I was leaning towards a big-fat no, that is until I walked in to Target and started perusing their dresses and it finally hit me that I could combine this challenge with making an Easter dress for her. So, here's a few pictures of my original inspiration:

Cherokee at Target

I love the overlay look and the simple design but I don't like butterfly sleeves so I went with this sleeveless Party Dress pattern by Cottage Mama and thought it was a pretty good fit for these styles. I decided to go with a reversible denim Jacquard fabric that I found at Joanns (I had to Google what that meant, so in case you don't know fabric lingo either, here's the definition: Jacquard weave: a fabric in which the design is incorporated into the weave instead of being printed or dyed on) which kind of gives a look of an overlay without the added layer because I didn't want to worry about it getting snagged or caught up on stuff, cause this girl likes to run wild! It is 100% polyester and is a nice, heavy fabric which I feel like will be perfect for a cool spring morning and it gives the gathered skirt plenty of body.

One of the challenges I faced with this is that I've never sewn with 100% polyester and was having a hard time hemming it, since it's not supposed to be ironed and it doesn't hold a crease even if you do, so I decided to try out a blind hem on my new serger (more on that next time!).  It isn't exactly blind as you can see by the photo below, and certainly not the most even hem I've ever done, but I like the look and with some practice I will use it more often. 

Not-so-blind hem

Though similar in style, I don't think I really achieved a "knock-off" look and felt like I cheated a bit, so I had to give it another try.  So once again, while at Target (cause who doesn't love Target??), I ran in to this cute dress.

Genuine Kids by Osh Kosh at Target

I've been wanting to make a chambray dress lately and I just so happened to have some eyelet fabric on hand, so I decided to give it a go. I wound up using the same pattern as the Easter dress, but I didn't gather the skirt as much so that it wouldn't be quite as full. Also, I ran out of eyelet fabric, so this one wound up sleeveless as well, oops! 

I altered the dress pattern slightly by adding a placket for snaps in the back rather than the buttons and loops that the pattern calls for. Also, I left the bodice on this one un-lined and used bias binding for the arm and neck holes to match the original inspiration piece.  One thing I didn't take in to account while altering it was since I wasn't lining the boddice, that left the arm and neck holes wider so I should have trimmed them down to take out the un-needed seem allowance.  This was my first time really altering a pattern, though, so I'm pretty proud of myself!

Well there you have it, my TWO Mystery Challenge creations. Please click over and check out everyone else's themes and projects! I am really excited to see what everyone else made.
Kelly at Kelly J Designs
Shawnta at Shawnta Sews & Jessica at Make Me Crafty
Fenna at FABulous Home Sewn & Stephanie at Swoodson Says