Rest a-shirred…

…I figured it out!  Shirring (pronounced sure-ing), or smocking, is a skill that I have been wanting to learn for quite some time now.  Erin has made some cute shirred dresses for the girls, and has expressed how fun and simple the technique is.  The idea is that you fill your bobbin with elastic thread while keeping regular thread up top, sew rows and rows, and watch it pucker!  I chose The Mendocino Sundress pattern, by Heather Ross, as my first shirred project.  As our blogger guru Rae often suggests, I made a muslin version first, before subjecting my special lawn cotton to this unfamiliar pattern.  I thought this pretty old sarong would be so-right for practicing (I know, so many puns, so little time).  The edges already with a rolled hem!

Pretty, yes, but also a pain in the you-know-what to work with!  It was like sewing with gauze!  Things didn’t go well in the beginning.  I think I had cut the pattern too small, and as soon as I got going I knew I would not be able to stretch this thing over my bust.  So, I chopped off the top, and that became a skirt for Avery!

Starting over,  I hopped online to watch some shirring tutorials.  After gathering some handy tips and visuals, I got back to my dress, er… tunic.  A couple of days, and a whole lot of elastic thread later, I was done!

Cute, right?  I want to live in this easy, breezy top!  It is so comfy and pregnant friendly!  Here’s a close-up of the shirring.

There are tons of flaws, but who can tell?  Shirring is evidently very forgiving.  Which is why I’m in LOVE!

In keeping with my tan lines, I opted for halter straps.  I can always change that later.  Thanks to my mom, who happened by as I was finishing, I got a proper shoot with a real photographer!

If only there were a tropical vacation in my future!   I am now fully confident in cutting up my nice fabric for the smocked sundress I have planned.  Be back with that in a few days!  Thanks for coming by.

~Caroline

Beignet Skirt

In a slow attempt to update my current wardrobe with some home-sewn flair, I made myself a skirt!

This is the beignet skirt from Colette Patterns.  A high-waisted straight skirt with 12 buttons (and…12 buttonholes…yikes ) up the front and a skinny belt. This skirt could also be referred to as “the 7 week skirt” or “the skirt that took 4-eva” or the “put down that beignet and get to sewing me already” skirt.  Hmmm….do I look knock-kneed up there?  Yikes.

I mean, I know I’ve been a little busy… but I cut my pieces out a month and a half ago, and they sat around collecting dust for a bit.  Here and there, I got around to sewing it together in the last couple of weeks.  During a couple nights of the Hatfields & McCoys mini-series with my hubs, I blew through most of it.  All that killing and backwoods family drama motivated me I guess?

 I made a size up from what I normally wear since I’m post-baby.  And like some other folks out there, in the end I decided to forego sewing the belt together since I honestly could not stand to look at my fabric anymore!  I found an inexpensive braided red one at Old Navy instead- and I think it probably looks better this way.

Oh, hello split ends!

Wow. I need to make an appointment to shave my head this week. STAT.

Anywho, I would say this was an elaborate project for me- but, as with all sewing patterns I’ve tried, I learned a heckofalot!  Made some side seam pockets for the first time, and also learned how to face and line a skirt-  this being the hardest part of the process for me, since 1. I bought cheap yellow lining fabric that showed it’s cheapness in many ways….  and 2. once I went to sew my skirt shell to the lining, none of my seams matched up.  My shell was wider than the lining… so, I took in a few of the shell seams and did the best I could with getting it to match up, but it wasn’t without belting out some of this: @#*$*^*#%&^!!!

There’s also a point where you have to attach the lining to the facing at a major curve.  See below.  I just had to go super slow… and it came out okay, but probably not perfect.

My buttons were a small splurge- but I really love the jade color.  I was a little hesitant to use them because maybe they don’t quite “go”…but i’m happy I did.  I’m not all for “matchy matchy” things anyway, and plus I need more color in my closet like nobody’s business.

I will say, this pattern was challenging for me, but defintely well-written… I plan on making another someday, maybe for Fall… though I’d choose a heavier weight cotton.  Mine here is almost linen-like, and I did have some slight issues (mainly when it came to the buttonholes) because of that.

And like I said, I used cheapo lining material (don’t be like me- do a little research on lining options!) but I do like the little glimpse of yellow poking out of the pocket.

Now.  Can i blatently show off  the REAL (adorable) reason this took me so long to make?

I MEAN….

Who can get anything done with these baby blues gazing up at you?? :)

-Erin

**update: this skirt was feautered on Colette Patterns blog, Coletterie… I’m blushing!!**