My Very Own Dress Form! Meet Ava, :).

Ever since I discovered it was possible to make your own dress form it has been on my to-do list for a long time. For Christmas this year I requested a pattern from Bootstrap Fashions and received a Jo-Ann’s gift card, combined with my 2 week winter break, I was finally able to make this happen! I have made a lot of projects, but this one has brought me the most satisfaction and feeling of accomplishment. If you are wanting to make your own dress form, you should really use their option of entering all of your measurements for a custom pattern. Plus, when you do it this way they will put in the seam allowances for you, unlike the method I used. If you decide to give this a go, please use my link, :). Click here for the pattern options.

I decided to do this about the most difficult way that one can, but I am very happy with the results. I received the PDF set of standard sizes 2-14 with cup sizes A-DD. With my measurements, I was between the sizes 10, 12, and 14 and past the DD size. Also, each size pattern is printed on individual sets of paper…so after printing and cutting and putting together 3 sets of papers (several hours!), I was able to trace out all my pattern pieces with the base size a 10 cup size DD, then grading out to a size 12 for the waist, size 14 for the hips, and size 14 cup size DD for the chest. So much time! But, in the end I was very happy with the final project, :).

The instructions are amazing! There are about 44 pages of detailed instructions with images, plus, Kelly Hogaboom, she does a wonderful job of giving even more details and advise throughout the process.

I purchased a woven interfacing called WovenFuse purchased here. It works just as well as SF101, but it comes in 45″ width! In the instructions, they recommend applying the interfacing to the fabric prior to cutting out the pieces, having 45″ wide interfacing was a huge plus! The fabric I used is called Vintage Pink Large Floral. The pattern recommends using an upholstery weight fabric, but I didn’t have any issues with my quilting cotton quality fabric. I just love the vintage vibe it gives. Hence the name Ava, for Ava Gardner. And she’s perfect! I will admit, this project took time, about 5 days of working on it. There are a few pieces, sewing, top stitching the lines, stuffing, cutting out the cardboard, etc. Ironing the interfacing onto 2 yards of fabric took awhile. In the end it was all worth it. This dress form is so much better than my adjustable form. I loved her, but it had all this open areas and hard edges. I can pin into Ava without any issues anywhere, :). Plus, unlike duct tape, she won’t gunk up my pins.

As you can tell, I really don’t have anything negative to say about this pattern at all. If anything, I am definitely planning to check out some of Bootstrap’s other sloper patterns. Love the idea of just entering my measurements and receiving a customized pattern.

As for the level needed to put this together, my advise is: if you can make a princess seam shirt or dress, you can make this. It’s really not difficult so much as just takes some time.

Isn’t she gorgeous?!?!

And in use already:

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Cheapest of the Cheap

I’m not sure if I’ll make the top 50 for the annual Tennessean’a Ms. Cheap’s Cheapest of the Cheap contest but submitted my idea anyway.

Been making a lot of my own workout gear of late because 1) workout clothes are EXPENSIVE! and 2) custom always fits better.

I’ve made 4 pair of leggings so far and have enough leftover fabric to make matching shorts or even swim suits.

And my awesome super cheap armband with a POCKET!!!! 🙂

Definitely lots more planned in the future for shirts, etc.

Here is my submission of links and sources gathered from lots of research:

To source my fabric I keep an eye on sales and coupons. Jo-Ann’s always has a nice selection and if you are on their email list always a coupon plus coupons in their mobile app. I’ve made several pairs for under $10 including the fabric, elastic, and thread. Other low-cost sources are the onlinefabricstore.net and fabric.com who send out daily emails with whatever fabric is 10% off that day, hartsfabrics.com also has a mailing list. Or if you want the good stuff spandexbyyard.com and any of the other places located on this list by Fehr Trade: http://www.fehrtrade.com/article/748/where-to-buy-exercise-fabric-a-global-list. This is a great guide to deciding which fabrics are best: https://www.seamworkmag.com/issues/2015/01/a-guide-to-activewear-fabrics. You can sign up for the McCall Pattern Company email list to be notified of their many sales on patterns, always a nice selection of athletic apparel patterns. Part of my foray into making my own clothes has been due in large part to making quality fitted items for a fraction of the cost they would be in store. With all the sales and options out there, making one’s own athletic apparel is definitely a savings! Also checking out thrift stores has some great options.

Free Patterns:

Leggings: http://so-sew-easy.com/leggings-pattern-tutorial/

Armband: http://www.maidenjane.com/2012/08/diy-ipod-armband-case-with-window-tutorial.html/; http://shop.fehrtrade.com/collections/frontpage/products/running-armband-pocket; https://jaeboyd.wordpress.com/2015/03/24/trials-of-creating-my-own-iphone-armband/

T-shirt: http://www.randomlyhappyblog.com/2013/05/how-to-sew-make-your-own-t-shirt-pattern.html

Shorts: http://mellysews.com/2013/07/bias-trimmed-shorts-for-women-with-free-pattern.html

Sports bra: http://www.autostraddle.com/make-a-thing-sports-bra-and-wireless-lace-bra-227855/

Underwear: http://clothhabit.com/free-pattern-rosy-ladyshorts/; http://www.makebra.com/free-hipster-pattern/

Yoga pants: http://sweet-verbena.blogspot.com/2012/02/yoga-pants-tutorial.html,

Yoga mat bag: http://www.amybutlerdesign.com/pdfs/NigellaYogaBag.pdf

Patterns Sites: http://www.jocole.net/catalog/; http://www.simplicity.com/; http://www.jalie.com/; http://mccallpattern.mccall.com/;  http://kwiksew.mccall.com/; http://shop.fehrtrade.com/; http://papercutpatterns.com/; https://www.etsy.com/

Enjoy!

Vogue Cape 8959

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I love how this cloak turned out, :). I made the Vogue 8959 cape pattern which comes in 3 length options. I went with the medium but instead of only 1 button I made 2. I have just discovered how to sew buttons holes using my machine and believe I have finally managed the easiest way to do it, :).

For this pattern I bought a gorgeous cobalt blue very soft and warm wool blend from Textile Fabrics, a fabric store in Nashville, TN. Then I lined the inside with a fun lime-green flannel plaid purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics. The beautiful pearl buttons were also purchased from Jo-Ann’s.

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The pattern was very easy to follow and put the whole cape together in about 6 hours, cutting only took about 2 hours now that I have my wonderful roll cutter. I had considered making the cape reversals but wasn’t sure how the pattern was set up, after everything was done I discovered it would be very easy to reverse this cape but maybe I’ll make another using the short pattern option. I just used light weight fusible interfacing for the front edges and plan to tack the bottom of the lining in place, though it doesn’t appear to be necessary.

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And below are some photos taken from different angles. Overall I am very pleased! 🙂

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Vogue 8890 Men’s Suit is Finished!

Hello all. I finally finished the time intensive endeavor by December 30th, just in time for my boyfriend to wear it for New Year’s Eve. He loved it and received many compliments. The inside blue lining compliments the outer dark gray fabric beautifully, the pockets were plentiful, and had easy access. I opted to not put the buttons on the inside jacket pockets and pants pockets. Overall it fits him nicely and only I know where all the errors were made, ;).

Had some difficulty with the pants waistband due to not paying attention to attaching the right side but I managed to fix it. I’d say men’s suit construction #2 was much easier than #1 but still challenging. I wish I’d saved photos from the first one for a comparison.

I had also made him a fedora but both attempts failed due to sizing, more on that in a separate post.

My next project will be a cloak using Vogue 8959, it’s almost finished so will be posting soon.

Below are some photos of the finished suit! Sorry they aren’t more professional looking.

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Vogue 8890 Part 4: Finished Jacket

Yay! It took some time but the jacket is finished and all together, :). I made a few changes from the original pattern: welted pockets instead of flap pockets & no button closure on the inside pockets. I love the striking color differences of the inside blue lining and outer grey with the subtle blue stripe. And it fits my boyfriend perfectly! 🙂 Below are some photos of the jacket. I will post pics of the pants soon as I’ve also nearly finished those and working on a matching fedora. Attempt number 1 at the hat looked great but was too small so on take 2.

Here is the suit jacket:

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Vogue 8890 Part 3: Sleeves

Success! Sleeves can be tricky and especially so when the pattern instructions tell you to put a ring of stitching around the upper sleeve ease in the access fabric. I found to put the ease stitching on he bottom section of the sleeve to not only work better but also gives the suit shoulders clean lines.

I believe I did and re-did the right sleeve about 3 times before I decided I had done it correctly. I had to cut out new pieces as I forgot to shorten the sleeves about 1.5″. I had made a muslin Proto-type in the beginning which is a necessary step for those of us (me) who are semi new to suit making and tailoring. I am glad I did as it helped me place the lines and sleeves better and the fit thus far is great.

For this suit I am using horsehair canvas and it really gives the suit great structure even if it is more work than fusible. I also discovered how to do button hole stitching on my Single Simple machine! Definitely makes doing button holes WAY easier than hand-stitching.

To iron out the shoulders I borrowed a iron ham from my roommate. This round stuffed device is great for ironing things like shoulder seems.

Next is the final fitting and inserting shoulder pads. I am using thin 1/4″ pads as my boyfriend doesn’t want large ones. Then it’s on to the lapel interfacing, lining, & collar. Halfway there!

It’s looking great so far now that I’ve gotten everything to lay as it should, :). I put in some pad stitching on the lapel side of the upper left flap pocket to make it pouf less and it did the job looking much better now.

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Vogue Men’s Suit 8890 Part 2

Making excellent progress! So I’ve discovered the major puckering of the upper left welt pocket will be covered by the lapel, :). So far I have put in the horse hair canvas interfacing and attached the sides to the back. Looking good! Jus a few hundred steps to go, ;). The last photo is of the pad stitching I did to the inner lapel interfacings, a very time intensive labor but will be well worth the effort. This wool blend suiting fabric from Jo-Ann’s is great to work with and bought the hair canvas from online seller Hart’s Fabric. The fabric is Fashion Suitings Herringbone Grey with Blue Stripes while the pockets are a navy blue cotton and the lining is a navy blue polyester.

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