Fashion Show

In February I was lucky enough to be able to participate in Utah Fashion Week, having a bridal line in the up-and-coming show. It was so much fun and I loved the challenge!

12790875_674726369336636_6978639142014687848_n

picture credit: Krista Sperry photography

I made 5 dresses. Trying to do a wide range while keeping them cohesive. The thing that really stands out is my use of up-cycled material. I used a few dresses that were now older and out of style, in desperate need of a revamp, as well as scrap fabric I already had. For one dress in particular I was commissioned to make a custom dress that was actually 2 dresses in one, a gold formal under dress with a lace up back which can be worn on its own, and a sheer over dress, that can attach to the gold dress, where I had attached the lace from the mothers dress, which I also matched with some other laces I had saved from other dresses. The rest of the pieces I had in the show were just made to show the kind of work I can do. 12791024_674726389336634_6964959228150252348_n

picture credit: Krista Sperry Photography12828938_681093912033215_6674577883025192781_o

picture credit: mommyandkumquat.com

For each dress I took the models measurements, created the pattern from scratch taking into account the amount of fabric I had to be able to use, and spent a lot of time making it all work together. The lace took the longest to work with by far, between placing the lace, and hand sewing the vintage lace to the dresses I spent over 100 hours. I had as many fittings as I needed to ensure a good fit for each model. I was soo lucky too because my models and photographer were amazing to work with! One model actually got injured two days before the show and my photographer/friend stepped in as my model! She saved me a lot of stress on the day of.20160225_19453120160204_14495320160128_22100412719258_673903439418929_2539617701579429653_o

picture credit: Krista Sperry Photography

I’m not sure if I will do another fashion show for a few more years. Doing 5 wedding dresses in a matter of a couple months was really pushing it while caring for an active toddler who wasn’t sleeping through the night, but once we have made it through toddlerhood I would love to go back to doing fashion shows. However, in the meantime, I am loving doing projects for myself and others.

Baby Blessing Dress

I was able to make a blessing dress for my dear friend’s baby this past month! I was super excited because I seriously LOVE to make girl’s clothes, and also because this friends mother was one of my inspirations to learn how to sew!
First I did some pinterest research to see what I might be able to do with the fabrics I already have on hand. I have a lot of vintage lace and wedding gown fabrics in my collection so I wanted to go more towards silks with lace accents as opposed to all lace or chiffon alternatives.
The one I took inspiration from was this Dolce and Gabbana baby baptism dress
This is how my dress ended up! I love it! Wish I would have gotten a better picture, but I was busy keeping a dog and toddler with bubbles away from the pretty white dress.
baby-blessing-dress-front-of-dress
Instructions:
Pattern-
First I made a quick sketvh to get an idea of what I wanted my dress to look like and what pattern pieces I would need to accomplish that
To make the pattern trace around a newborn size dress if possible. Then add a 1/2 inch seam allowance. Add length to the skirt to make it as long as you would like it. I did a slight high low with a 2 inch difference between the front and the back.
I added a 1 inch button tab at the back of the bodice.
I added a 3 inch waistband and then realized that was huge for a newborn and ended up reducing that to 1 1/2 inches.
If anyone would like, I would be more than happy to give you my pattern measurements, just message me or ask in the comments.baby-blessing-dress-pattern-piecesbaby-blessing-dress-quick-sketch
Bodice-
I started with sewing the bodice since that is usually the hardest part and I wanted to get it out of the way.
-start by sewing side seams and shoulder seams together on both the dress and lining
-Sew the lining and dress fabric together at the shoulder, neck, and back.
-Notch the collar so that it will lay flat (super important to make it look nicer)
-sew the side seams of the sleeves and hem them
-baste at 1/4 inch and gather on the sleeve cap
-set in the sleeves using a double row of stitching or a serger
baby-blessing-dress-notches
Waistband-
I struggled to get this done correctly, and wish I had done some things better or in a different order, so here’s the instructions for what I wish I had done.
-attach lace to front
-sew ties at the sides and end, trim and grade and then turn right side out (and press)
-sew side seams with the ties sandwiched between (all right sides together)
-attach to bodice right sides together, making certain the button tab is the way you want itbabay-blessing-dress-waistbandbaby-blessing-dress-3-pieces
Skirt-
-baste 3 rows at the top of each piece of fabric and lining and gather (i did it at 1/4 1/2 and 3/4 inches)
– sew side seams and back seam of both fabric and lining
– sew to bottom of waistband with right sides together, either doing a double row of stitching or serging
– hem both skirt and lining
– sew on lace using clear thread (i used white in my bobbin and clear thread on top)
baby-blessing-dress-pinning-lace
Finishing-
-Add buttonholes and buttons
-Iron
-Done!
 baby-blessing-dress-finished-product
 baby-blessing-dress-back-of-dress

 

Elena Kids Costume

Recently Disney came out with a new show called Elena of Avalor, and it’s actually pretty good! My niece convinced me to watch it with her a few times and I would be lying if I said I didn’t actually watch every single episode because I liked it. Also, I have been teaching this same niece how to sew lately! So for her birthday she requested that I make her a dress like Elena and that she would like to help. I am super excited that she likes sewing and crafting with me and her mommy! Whenever I babysit I just let her and my toddler go to town on my machine and they have a great time creating with scraps. So anyways, her parents asked if I would be willing to make it since the Disney version was a little pricey since it is so new, and I was more than happy to get to sew for her. Also, she got her own sewing machine for her birthday! I am sooo excited to have more lessons with her! elena-dress
Instructions:
I made the pattern just tracing over a dress of hers that fits her well, and adding 1/2″ seams all around. For the ruffle I just got a 1/2 a yard and cut it into 3 inch strips and basted and gathered one edge.
Skirt
– I made the skirt in 3 layers, lining, sheer and glittery, and skirt fabric, basting the tops at  1/4 1/2 and 3/4 inches, then gathering it all, and then sewing all seams (2 side seams and in the middle back but leaving that one undone a few inches to add the zipper in later)elena-skirt-1elena-dress-2
-The next step was to cut the front to have the slit to show the under skirt, I just eyeballed this and hoped for the best. haha probably not the safest way, but it turned out cute!elena-skirt-3
– I hemmed the lining and the sheer chiffon layer but left the red layer alone since I was going to finish that with a ruffle at the end.
Top-
-First I sewed the side and shoulder seams of both lining and red fabric
-second I basted and gathered a ruffle and sandwiched the gathered edge between the lining and red fabric on the collar edge and sewed that up.
– for the sleeveless armholes I would usually finish that with some bias tape but I didn’t have any and didn’t want to take the time to make one I just sewed the armhole edge at 1/4″ and then basically just treated it like I was hemming it to the inside. simple but effective.
I sewed the whole belt together at the side seams and then sewed it to the waist of the dress.elena-top-2elena-top-1elena-top-3elena-top-4
Finishing
-I sewed the bottom of the belt to the skirt adjusting the gathers to be even around.
– I added a zipper in the back
– I added the ruffle
-All done and ready to play!
Also, in case you think sewing with kids is easy I thought I would include the disaster area/ behind the scenes when I was trying to take a picture of the dress! Gotta love toddlers! I wouldn’t have it any other way20160916_132022
 elena-lily-3
 elena-lily-2
 elena-lily-1

Taking in Pants using Elastic

My mom came to visit me a few weeks back (already missing her like crazy!) and needed some help altering her clothes. I remember growing up my moms dad would come visit and we would just have this giant pile of clothing that would need fixing! I think I may be turning into my grandma but I kind of love that it’s another connection I have with her. I’ve been slowly making my way through my long list of alterations and sewing projects and I will try to keep the blog better up to date with my progress!
This one is such a simple fix for a pair of pants! My mom has a quite excellent rear end (Kim K would be jealous) with an itty bitty waist, i.e. the woman has curves. So the goal was to simply nip in the waist so she wouldn’t have to wear a belt all the time. It also took only about 15 minutes start to finish. It could have been a bit cleaner, but I am pleased with how it turned out, and it works really well for my mama.
*Note: this method is preferably used when you only need to take the waist in a few inches
 elastic-take-in-1
Supplies:
-fabric scissors
-1″ wide elastic
-Pins
Instructions:
-first stretch out elastic along area of pants you want to take in, cut when you have the right lengthelastic-take-in-2
-Pin the elastic stretched out, it will scrunch back up, but you will stretch it as you sew.elastic-take-in-4elastic-take-in-3
-Sew within a 1/4″ of top edge while stretching out the elastic
-sew within 1/4″ of top edge of the elastic.elastic-take-in-6elastic-take-in-5
-trim the strings and voila it is done!

Belle Kids Costume

A couple months ago my niece asked if I could make her a Belle dress for her birthday. She had outgrown the one I made her a few years ago and really wanted to have a new one. My sister-in-law had managed to snag an unwanted prom dress for free that she thought might be good for this refashion project. I said I would do it and honestly was expecting to end up needing to go buy some close fabric to make it actually work, but really lucked out on the amount of material in the dress, it was lined with the same 100% silk that the dress was made from and gave me plenty to work with! I really adore how cute it turned out.belle-dress-finished-2
Directions:
To get my sizing I referenced a couple size charts to get some approximations. I knew my niece is pretty tall and thin, so she is a size 6 in kids but needs to add about 4 inches to most dresses. If you have the child close by you can get their exact measurements and work off of that, or you can make patterns by tracing around clothes of theirs that you already have to make it a bit easier.belle-original-dress
My first step was to completely dismantle the dress. I just used a seam ripper and went to town taking it all apart to see what all I had to work with.
then I made a quick sketch and wrote out my measurements.
Bodice-
I just altered the bodice from an adult size to a kids size
– first I measured out the length I wanted the front to be and added an extra inch for seam allowance and then cut it down from the top, since I would be taking out the added chest volume anyways.
– Next I took it in at the seams, more in the front then in the back seams because the front needed to straighten out significantly to reduce the chest size. I also was taking it in significantly more at the chest than at the waist, so I would measure how much I needed to take it in at each interval and mark it, and then draw a line between the two points.belle-adjusting-the-top
-Next step was to break off the beads. This is a super important step because if you get the beading caught under the needle you could definitely break the needle (or 3 of them, in a row, ugh). TO do this I just got a pair of pliers and crushed the beads. It’s also a good idea to wear glasses during this step cause the pieces can get everywhere.
-I then actually sewed the seams when they were safely bead free.belle-bodice
– I evened out all the edges and hemmed the top and bottombelle-bodice-done
Skirt-
-I first just measured out how long I wanted it and added an inch and a half for seam allowance, and then cut it all as straight as I could.belle-skirt-panelbelle-skirt-adjustmentbelle-all-panels
-Then I decided which order I wanted the panels inbelle-panels-arranged
-Then I basted 3 rows at the top of each panel (at 1/4, 1/2, 3/4 inches) and gathered them
-Next I sewed all of the side seams together, leaving one with a few inches undone where you can add the zipper in the back middle
-Then I basted and gathered the bottom of the silk chiffon in 6 places, with one row of stitching, and tying it and knotting the strings at both the top and bottom of the gathered area
-I sewed the chiffon to the rest of the skirt. making sure there was a seam undone slightly to add the zipper in more easily.belle-skirt-almost-done
Finishing-
-The next thing I did was attach the bodice to the skirt, sewing along the same line as where I hemmed the bodice.
-I gathered the sleeve fabric where I would begin and end sewing it to the bodice. belle-chiffon
-I handstitched the sleeves to the bodice
-I handstitched the jeweled piece in the center front
-I added the zipper using a zipper foot
-Then I hemmed the skirt and I was finished!
It was a fun project and went pretty quickly for completely refashioning something. I spent about 10-12 hours in total including taking the original dress apart and a long time spent doing all the math. I think it turned out pretty well, there are only a few things I wish I had done a bit better, but my niece still loves it! Also, I plan to make a petticoat to go with it for special occasions and extra fun 🙂 look out for that tutorial coming soon.
belle-dress-finished
 xoxo Anna

Tea Dying

One thing I have really enjoyed learning in recent months is tea dying. It is really simple, easy, and gives a gorgeous antique look to fabric. I have used it on wedding dresses to match different types of lace, and I am currently using it to create a baby blessing dress with a slightly antiqued look.
The Basics:
There is no set amount of tea to use, or amount of time the fabric should be left in the water, it really just depends on the brand of tea (some are more reddish undertones, some are more yellow), the amount of time you let it steep in the water, and how dark you would like your fabric to be.
It works best with cotton, but I have experimented with lots of fabrics and laces and had a lot of success, as long as I use a bit to test how dark it gets first so I can adjust.
I typically dye with the water still Very hot, and that seems to work the best for colorfastness.
You Will Need:
-A large pot of water
-Black tea packets
-Tongs
-Fabric or lace
-A second pot or bucket of cold water, or a sink to rinse in
How To:
First boil the water and get things ready to go. I had a large pot so I decided on 3 tea bags, which I steeped between 5 and 7 minutes.
tea-dying-set-up
Once I was done steeping i took out the tea bags and put my fabric in one piece at a time using the tongs.
tea-dying-in-the-pot
Since I wanted a just off-white antiqued look I only left the fabric in for about 15 seconds, then I took it out and rinsed it in cold water to get all the excess color out. (If you want it to get completely brown then leave it in the tea much longer, and you can use more tea bags)
After I was done with all that I set out a clothesline to let the fabric air dry.
tea-dying-line-drying
That’s it! All there is to it, took me about 15 minutes start to finish.

tea-dying-drying-on-the-line

XOXO -Anna