Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Necessary Evils?

When you're photographing a room (or entire home) for your blog, a magazine, Instagram, or whatever medium, it's easy to take things you don't want in the photos out of the room by the armful. It's easy, it helps to create that "beyond-perfect" space we're used to seeing, and I think it's misleading. There are parts of the home that are just always going to not look photo ready, right? I am right, aren't I?

As Mr. B and I float around drywall limbo, I'm getting other bits of the family room taken care of or at least planned. One thing I am always stuck on is the television, movie, and game collections. I mean, what do you do with these? You don't flip though Midwest Living to find someone's giant dvd collection neatly displayed next to a modern fireplace. It just doesn't happen. But most of us have a television, and most of us have dvds (or blu-rays if you're fancy) and video games that need somewhere to live. 

When Mr. B and I got married I bought a few packs of jewel cases (possibly the only person to buy jewel cases in years), and swapped out all of our DVD cases for them. Of course, there's some special editions that we'd like to keep the packaging to, and anything we've acquired over the last year is still in it's original case. It saved us a ton of room, we can now fit almost all of our movies into two baskets that I keep on the bottom shelf of our entertainment center (also commonly omitted from magazines).

In the last year, we have purchased much, much fewer movies, but I'm sure there will always be additions. There will always be some necessary decorating evils in the home, I think. We don't have the space for a sleek media center like the above room featuring Ikea pieces. What are some of your solutions to storing games, movies, etc?

Saturday, June 28, 2014

DIY Nightgown + Kimono Style Robe

I am definitely not the type of person who is overly concerned with what they wear to bed. During the winter I'm often wearing some fleece pj pants or long johns, and in the summer I tend to sleep in Mr. B's t-shirts and some shorts. I came across Catherine of Sewing the 60s rendition of Butterick 5513, and thought that I would totally make some summer-y dresses with it (even though it's a nightgown/pj pants pattern).
I was lucky enough to find the pattern on eBay in my size, so I snatched it up for just a few dollars. Once it arrived I decided to make a nightgown with it first, to make sure I liked the fit and also because I was already planning to make the kimono. Why not make a pretty nightgown to go with it? The dress was really simple to sew, and only took me a few hours to make. This was my first experience sewing elastic and oh my goodness it's so much nicer than gathering fabric.
As you can see, I went with short sleeves instead of any of the various styles the pattern offers. I just can't imagine sleeping in long sleeves like that. I'd end up accidentally strangling myself or something. The patterns are also designed to zip in the back which I also would rather not sleep in. I ended up buying jersey knit fabric, which eliminates the need for a zipper.

For the robe I just adjusted instructions for the cardigan in Brett Bara's book Sewing in a Straight Line. (for more things I've made from Brett's book look here and here) I didn't buy quite enough fabric, so the back is a simple lace that I had in my fabric stash. I dyed it black before sewing it and it actually is a nice feature. I had just enough leftover fabric to make a tie for the waist.

These two are definitely going to get a lot of wear this summer! I totally plan to making more dresses using this pattern.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Twice Baked Lobster Dress

So, I actually have a few completed sewing projects that I have yet to post on here. It's been a busy month, and I'm totally slacking on the blog-front. It's kind of nice actually, just doing things for the sake of doing them. Also I'm caught up in the middle of a Mad Men binge watch. So, that's probably the real culprit. This show has given me a new found appreciation for the iPad. Screen shots of outfits? YEAH!

I'm calling this the twice baked lobster dress because I actually made it twice. The first time I had something pretty different in mind and when it was finished I realized, "Hey! I don't have the body of a 13 year old girl. This fits horribly."

So I tossed it aside and gave myself some time to recalibrate by making some night clothes that I will be sharing soon. After a little time had passed and the wound healed, I decided it was time to try again. I actually leaned a little more towards a pattern I used for my new nightgown, and this time it turned out much better.

To make this dress I used a large men's t-shirt I picked up at the Salvation Army for about $1, and fabric I found at a thrift store in a nearby town for $3. Luckily, there was about 3 yards of it, so there was plenty to remake the dress (and still plenty more).

First, I cut the seams on the t-shirt so I could completely re-size it, and crop it to the length I needed it. I decided to take it off at my natural waist, where it would be the most flattering. Then I measured my waist, multiplied that super secret number by 1.5, and divided in half to determine the measurements for the skirt portion. For the length, I just measured from my waist to where I wanted my skirt to end and added my seam allowances.

Right sides together, I sewed up both halves of the skirt creating a big ol' lobster tube. Next, I cut a length of elastic the same measurement as my waist and sewed it to the skirt, stretching the elastic as far as it would go to create a gathered top. Then all that was left was to sew it to my now reassembled t-shirt bodice. Hem and ta-da... the twice baked lobster dress!