Monthly Archives: November 2010

11.21.10JCrew Knock Off Giveaway

In continuation of my 3 “3 dollar dresses” I made a knock off of a JCrew dress I REALLY want but refuse to pay $98 dollars for. Instead I paid three. Now granted it is not the same gingham fabric, I was lucky to find the fabric I did. I couldn’t believe it when I asked if they had flannel “my fabric guy” went into the back and pulled out this blue plaid flannel. I had to Dryel it but it turned out to be really nice. WAY to thick to ever actually be worn in Timor, hence the fun giveaway. The JCrew dress looks like this:
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And my version looks like this:
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I have to say this was a challenge! I have never done oxford sleeves before let a long with out a pattern. (And of course then I rolled them up so you can’t even see them DOH!)  I just kind of made the whole thing up as I went a long. I did make a patten and photoged each step so we’ll see if there is interest in a tutorial. Like the JCrew dress it does have pockets, right next to my hand it this pic…
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Just like the JCrew it also has a faux little pocket along the dropped waistline. Unlike the JCrew it does not have button holes up the side, it has buttons, but no button holes ha! If you win you can put those in as I have STILL not found my button hole maker. I don’t think I personally would ever button it up but to each their own. I also would wear it with leggings but I nearly died from heat stroke in the flannel alone! Evie was in no mood to be put down by momma so she got to join in the fun.
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So in these pictures I look like I have the knee version of cankles… anyone know any knee slimming work outs? HA! Alright so if you would like this dress please leave a comment below. Keep in mind I am not a professional seamstress and there are probably some mistakes, oh and remember about the button holes, although I am making myself one as we speak out of light cotton and have zero intention of putting button holes so they aren’t necessary.  There is a big hem so you can let it down if you are taller, again I think it would look great with leggings. (Felicity I hope you keep saying leggings in our funny voice ha!) Now it is back to cleaning and getting ready for our big dinner tomorrow night, the Ambassador is coming for dinner and I am a basket case. Guaranteed Evie is going to fling something at her, Sawyer will refuse to eat what I made and Finn will do his weird Darth Vader voice by breathing into his plastic cup, and I am going to slip under the table out of embarrassment. Wish me luck and best of it to you!

Holly Jolly Belt

 I have to apologize for the quality of the pictures lately. My camera has now completely given up the ghost. I feel like someone lopped off one of my arms. I didn’t realize how major a part of my life it had become. Add into that the fact that I have only been crafting after 8Pm and well…. pictures not so good. I am hoping the Canon shop in Jakarta will fix in next week (fingers crossed, toes crossed, eyes crossed etc) Anyways it is painful for me to post pics that are substandard but what cha gunna do right? 

Moving on…Once the Merry and Bright dress was on the mannequin I thought it definitely needed something to break up all that RED. I don’t know why I didn’t feel this as much with the purple (speaking of which have you seen Elf? The whole time I was making that dress I was thinking “thats a very purply dress!” ha!) Anyway tangents aside I decided to make a christmas’s belt, the Holly Jolly belt to be exact!

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I grabbed a remnant of striped fabric I received a long with Sawyers birthday banner from my friend Elizabeth and finished the edges then cut the ends using pinking sheers. (I was seriously that lazy, you could totally make a nicer/ longer lasting version). I used the same flower making technique I used on the Bali Break Tunic from I Am Momma Hear Me Roar. Just like on the Bali belt I used my pinking sheers. This time I cut every other “bump”

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This should say “I also added pearls to make the FLOWERS more noticeable”… this was at l1pm and my brain had decided it was done for the day!
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I really do love how it turned out and love that I can slide it on and off (you know if I feel like it is over kill ha!) 
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I might go back and hand sew veins on the other holly leaves but we’ll see ;) I think minified down this could be a cute hair clip for a munchkin. Since Evie now rips out everything I currently put in her hair I don’t know if it will happen ha! Hope you have a lovely weekend!

11.20.10Sewing the Merry and Bright dress and Holly Jolly belt preview :)

There are only a few hours left to vote over at Sew Much Ado for the knock off prizes… its not lookin’ to good for my entries but the other ones are fantastic I don’t feel all that bad :)
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You can find the Pattern here!
Alright so before we start sewing I want to answer a few questions posed in the comments. As for choice of fabric I would suggest a cotton. Poplin would be lovely. If you can find one with a touch of spandex for stretch that would work well (when I say a touch I really mean very little). I don’t think this would work well with heavy fabrics. They way the dress is folded on each side would make sewing through the heavy fabric very hard and probably involve broken needles ha! I would die to see this dress in a stripe. (Bare in mind it is summer in my neck of the woods) a gorgeous yellow strip or turquoise… heaven! I think I am going to try and pick up some stripy fabric in Bali next week and if I am able to I will make sure to post the results. As for sizing. This pattern runs large. Sewing with 3/5 seam allowance will make this dress a large 6 or small 8. If you would like it smaller I would sew with a larger allowance and keep it standard through out. If you need it dramatically smaller or larger I would take the printed pattern pieces to a Kinkos and enlarge or shrink them. I have found that 20% seems to go up a size or down a size. If you would like a ten I would enlarge it 120% if you would like a 4 I would shrink it by 80%. It also is LONG. A nice chunky hem is what makes this dress hang so nicely. I would HIGHLY recommend ironing your hem as it has a bit of a curve to it.
As for downloading I re uploaded the patter pieces had mentioned they had problems with and was able to download them from 3 different computers. Media Fire is not the best hosting company. I have not been overly pleased with their service but it is super cheap a month and since I don’t do advertising or charge for the patterns I need to keep it cheap.
Lets Start Sewing!!!
First you will need to make your LONG belt pieces. I did not make a pattern for these because it depends you your taste. Do you want a SUPER long belt that wraps around a bunch of times? Then do it! Do you want a thin one or a thick chunky one? All you HAVE to make sure is that one is shorter then the other as only one wraps all the way around your waist.  All you need to do to make the belts is cut a LONG piece of fabric, double as wide as you would like the end result to be. Once you have cut it fold it in half lengthwise. Sew all the way along the raw edges. You only need to “finish” one end. All I do is once I get to the opposite end then I started from, with my needle down in the fabric I lift my foot, twist the belt and sew at a sharp angle back to the folded side. Turn it right side out and you are done!

 We are going to start out with pieces 11 and 10
pieces 11
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Take your one of your piece 10‘s and lay it right sides together with piece 11.
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Now sew from the top down to the bottom of the arch. DO NOT sew down the 90% angle. When you have sewed down the arch, slide one of your belt pieces in between the two pieces gather the end of it slightly. There needs to be a space in between the belt and the bottom of the piece so that later when we attach this piece to the skirt the belt can swing freely.
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Now sew through all 3 layers
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Now flip everything right side out and I highly suggest ironing it. Now instead of topstitch along the very edge of the piece you just made, flip it over and sew along the edge of piece 10
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This is a better picture:
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When you are done with this piece repeat the process on the second set of pattern pieces. Now we are going to work on the Back bodice portion with pieces 2 and pieces 4. This may seem awkward at first but these two pieces do fit together. As you sew do not worry about how the fabric is lying, just worry about lining up the raw edges. Ease stitch (gently work with the fabric, twisting and turning gently as you sew) the two pieces together.
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Once you have sewn them together you can open them up and see how good it looks!
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Now repeat the process on the other side.
Now we are going to make the back, dress bottom with Pieces 1 and Pieces 2
With piece 1 in the middle you are going to sew a “piece 2″ onto either side.
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To do this lay your piece one right side up, take one of the piece 2′s and lay it right side down lining up the raw edges. Now sew along the raw edge thus connecting the two pieces. Now repeat the process on the other side. Once you are done iron the seams. Now we want to make sure that the seams on the skirt line up with the seams on the back bodice top.
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If they do not line up, go back and sew a wider seam allowance until they do match up. Then you are going to connect the back bodice to the “skirt” you just made. With right sides together match the seams on the bottom of the bodice to the seams on the top of the skirt. Now pin across. Once you have everything lined up sew across the raw edge. When you are done you should have what looks like the back of a dress.
Now we are going to work on the front of the dress. Grab your pieces 12 and 14. At this point you can decide if you want to do pleats on the top of piece 12 or just do a gathering stitch and gather it up. Either way you decide to do it, the top of piece 14 needs to become the same size as the bottom of piece 12
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Once you have made them the right size we are going to connect them! Match the two pieces up so that rights sides are together with the top gathered part of piece 14 lining up with the bottom of piece 12. Now sew along the raw edge.
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At this point we are going to attach the pockets. Find your piece 9‘s. Fold over a little lip on each pocket top and iron it down. Then fold it over again so that all the edges are flush.
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Now we are going to pin the pocket onto the piece we just made. Fold over and iron one edge of the pocket and the bottom. If you fold over and iron the right side on one you need to fold over and iron the left side on the other. You only need to fold one side because the other side will be sewn into the seam. Here is the catch. You REALLY need to be aware of where you are pinning it. I totally sewed them onto the wrong side first and had to unpick everything.. ughhhhhh. Essentially pin them on the opposite side as pictured in the FIRST picture. I corrected it in the picture with both finished pieces.
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Sew along the bottom and up the one folded side.
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When you are done repeat the process with your other pocket
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If you have a serger I would suggest serging down the top edge (as shown in the picture above) as this is where your belt will feed through. If not a zig zag stitch or some fray check will do just fine. Lay these pieces to the side for a moment. Now grab one of the top front pieces you made and your piece 13. You will find that your piece 13 is about an inch wider then your top piece. This is going to be the fold where the wrap dress opens. So first we need to hem the side of piece 13. Make a hem large enough that when you are done the width of piece 13 and the bottom of your bodice top will be the same.
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When you have hemmed your piece 13 connect the two pieces by laying them right sides together with the top of piece 13 lining up with the bottom of the bodice top. Sew along the raw edge. When you are done iron the seam flat and then repeat the process on your second set of pieces.
Now pick back up the pieces we made with the pockets. These will correspond with the two top pieces we just made. The “pocket skirt” portion will NOT go all the way to the top of the bodice top. Lining up the arch in the “pocket skirt” portion with the arch in the top bodice portion. Pin all the way a long then sew along the raw edge.
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When you are done iron the seams. Ohhhh we are getting close! Now we are going to attach the two front pieces to the back of the dress. Take one of your front sides and lay it right sides together with the back of the dress. Line up the edges and pin all the way along.
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Now stop for a moment and think. If this is bodice top piece with the shorter belt, then it is also the piece you are going to need to leave a gap at the waist for the longer piece to feed through. If it is sew all along the edge stopping and starting about 2 inches above the waist line, then begin sewing again a tiny bit above the waist line. Once you are done repeat the process on the other side. If you already made a gap you don’t have to worry about it on this side you can simply sew straight down. If you need not make a gap on the last one you need to do so on this side. Once finished iron your seams. You should have the semblance of a dress! At this point I would try it on and make sure you do not need to take it in anywhere for a perfect fit. If everything fits great it is time to attach the sleeves. Grab your Piece 6‘s.
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As pictured above iron up the bottom edge (which I serged) of the dress so that the triangles al match up nicely. Now stitch across what would be the serged edge. Now you are really going to need your iron. Flip your sleeve over so that the right side is facing you. Fold up the bottom of the sleeve until you are almost showing the serged part, but not quiet and iron it down.
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Now fold the entire sleeve in half so right sides are facing each other. Sew up the side:
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Now you are going to sew a gathering stitch across the arch of your sleeve and then gather them.
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Now we are going to attach the sleeves to the dress. The easiest way to do this is turn y our dress inside out. Now, slide your sleeve (which is still right side out) up through the dress and line up the center seam of the dress with the seam on the sleeve and pin it. Then go around matching up the edges pinning as you go. Now sew around along the raw edge! Okay sooo close! All you have to do is the collar!
Grab pieces 7 and pieces 8
Just like the top of your bodice you are going to have to ease stich these together. 
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Lay the two pieces so they are right sides together and sew along the raw edges
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Once you are done repeat the other process with your other two pieces. Then iron your seams. Now lay the two pieces so that right sides are together.
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Sew around the edges and across the top. Do NOT sew across the bottom. When you are done slip your collar right side out. I then ironed mine and topstitched what I just sewed to make it lay nicely.
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Now we are going to pin our collar to the neck of our dress with right sides together.
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Sew along the raw edge. Then go back over it with a zig zag stitch.
OH MY GOODNESS YOU ARE DONE!!!!
I gave my entire dress and iron then slid on my Holly Jolly Belt (Tutorial forthcoming)
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I hope everything was clear and straight forward. This was a MAJOR undertaking and I would REALLY love to see any dresses you make out of it. Some one PLEASE do one in a pattern/ print. I would love to see how it turns out. I hope this is a fun weekend project for you!

11.18.10Merry and Bright Dress: Cutting & Taping the Pattern

Alright, after lots and lots of work I am done with Merry and Bright pattern and ready to show how to cut and tape it together.
Nantucket Knock Off
Sorry it took so long but over 24 pattern pieces takes a while :) You can down load the pattern pieces HERE. If you already printed off the pattern I might encourage you to print it off again as I made some changes in an attempt to make it easier. Unfortunately I didn’t fix everything so here are some house keeping items about the pattern:

There is no patten piece “Y”… I dunno how I missed it but I did 
(so any pattern piece then says tape to “Y” disregard that ha!) 
On the “O” piece it says tape to “M” that is wrong, tape it to “N”… which makes more sense anyway 

There is a pattern Piece 2, it is the back part of the bodice. You will see a pic of it soon 

There are two pattern pieces labeled W, one is just W and one is Wb. 
W is taped to V and Wb is the top of piece 13 and taped to X, Z & AA

There are 13 pieces not 14… me no count good.

If I don’t go over the pattern piece here it is  because no taping is involved
Pattern Piece 1
Pattern piece 1 consists of pattern pieces E,F & G all taped together.
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Pattern Piece 2
Pattern piece 2 consists of pieces C & D
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Pattern Pieces 3
Pattern piece 3 consists of H,I,J, K & L
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Pattern Piece 4 
pattern Piece 4 consists of pieces A & B
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Pattern Piece 6
Consists of pieces N & O
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Pattern Piece 10
Consists or R & S
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Pattern Piece 12 
Consists of V & W
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Pattern Piece 13
Consists of Wb, X, Z & AA
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Pattern Piece 14
This is the biggest one and consists of: BB, CC, DD, EE, FF &GG
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When all the pattern pieces are cut out it should look like this: 
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Don’t mine my super dirty deck. Alright so now that yo have your pattern pieces cut out follow the cutting instructions on them. I am sure there are more mistakes I didn’t catch… this has been a hard process. Lets just say if it doesn’t tell you to cut 2 or more then you just cut one. Cut all those lovely pieces out and be ready to sew up a storm tomorrow! I really encourage you to make this with me I am going to try and be SUPER clear in all my instructions and there is really nothing tricky about it!

11.16.10Winners and New Adventures

It is Tuesday night in Timor! Let the winning begin! First for the toddler Christmas ties:

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holly said…

I love, love, love these. How exciting for 2 then each of my boys will have one. I am so thankful that you give patterns and tutorial because even if I don’t win I still do!!!!

Yippie Holly! They will be winging your way and I hope they look sweet on your little men! 
Now for the Merry and Bright dress. Now if you don’t win never fear tomorrow we will be taping together our fabric and cutting out our pattern. I am going to try REALLY hard to make this as straight forward and easy. I will be making my version in Christmas Red! The winner is…
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Jessica said…

I’m thankful for people like you who help people here in the US stay grounded and remind us that there is so much more to life than the constant commercializm that surrounds us. (I’m totally jealous that you get to live in the middle of nowhere)



Jessica, thank you so much for your kind words! I wouldn’t be all that jealous though ha! Today I would have killed for a candy cane… I know silly but still. Some one grab a fist full of those mini candy canes and chow down for me :) I hope you love the dress and think of me when you wear it! 
Now as for the new adventures. I will be in the states for June and July next year. During that time I would like to participate in some Bazaar type activities. I cannot open an Etsy store because you cannot use Diplomatic pouch for items that are sold, so I have to take advantage of my time at home. Remember my question about tags? Well I had so many fantastic responses thank you soooo much! I picked an Esty vendor (I really wanted to support a momma, although I think I will be eternally jealous of the awesome Tags Dana had made they are so stinkin cute!) and then I realized that I really didn’t want to put “Sewing in No Mans Land” on a tag so I had a dilemma. I was going to do a contest to have some help picking a name but then I thought of one I thought might be cute but I would love to hear your opinion. I think I am going to call the clothing line I sell “Found”. I like how it correlates with No Mans Land and I love the feeling of having “Found” exactly what you are looking for and totally falling in love with something. I dunno maybe it is too generic. What do you think? Would you buy a dress I designed if the price was right?