Stretch Velvet Moneta Dress

dressphoto2I started this post with a rant about 2018 resolutions, talking about success and failure and goals for this blog going forward and blah blah blah, but then decided nobody actually wants to read that. So here it is– I’m planning on posting here more frequently, mostly about sewing/making things, sometimes about books or movies or TV or whatever I feel like talking about. So today, let’s talk about my Christmas dress and a few other random holiday things.

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I’ve been wanting to try Colette Patterns’ Moneta Dress for a while now, since it’s one of my favorite styles to wear and the no darts/closures aspect is appealing. I ordered 3.5 yards of wine colored stretch velvet from fabric.com, which is soft and silky, though maybe not quite as stretchy as I would have preferred.

My measurements were between two sizes, so I decided to size up since I didn’t want the dress to be too snug. I made quite a few alterations to the pattern, shortening the waist by 1″ and self-drafting a half circle skirt since gathering velvet sounded nightmarish. Cutting the velvet was awful, I’m not going to lie– it’s so slick and heavy, it kept falling off the table, and keeping the layers folded together was a task that took longer than the sewing itself.

Now I’ve sewn with velvet before and was well aware of the nap. While cutting the pieces, I was very careful to make sure the nap was going in the same direction on all the pieces…sadly, that direction was upside down. So instead of being a rich wine color, it’s a dark, nubby burgundy, and while I spent a lot of time being pretty upset about it with myself, I got over it. Sorta.

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Anyways, I’m mostly satisfied with how it turned out. I’d use the pattern and fabric again, and while I did use a serger for the inside seams (a total must– I would never attempt stretch velvet without a serger) I wish I’d used a coverstitch machine for the hems. And I’ll be extra careful about the nap!

Dress Stats

Pattern: Moneta Dress by Colette Patterns

Modifications to pattern? Shortened waist by 1″, used different skirt pattern piece

Fabric: no brand stretch velvet from fabric.com

Would make pattern again? Yes

Would use this fabric again? Yes, with extra care

 

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Halloween Makes: Lined Drawstring Bags + Economy Block Table Runner

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There’s a lot of reasons I’m excited to be done with college, but one of the biggest is because I actually get to enjoy the fall and Halloween sewing! Fall is my favorite season, especially October, and I never feel like I get to slow down enough to really immerse myself in it.

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Sometimes you just have to set your 20 works in progress aside and make a Lined Drawstring Bag or two. I absolutely adore this pattern, and even though sometimes I may get impatient and try to skip a step, it’s always worth the time to follow it exactly and get beautiful results.

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My favorite is the “everything” size, and I knew I wanted to try a patchwork panel after seeing Heidi Kenney’s a while back. I did a simple log cabin block with my favorite Cotton + Steel “Lil Monsters” prints, plus Kenney’s tiny happy gourds (a fat quarter I’ve been hoarding for just the right project.) When I first started making these bags, I always wanted to skip making the strings and use twill tape, but laziness (I almost never have twill tape) won out and actually now I love choosing an additional fabric for the ties. I’ll always err on the side of getting to pick more fabric. The black and white stripe from C+S’s “Wonderland” is one of my all time faves– I love stripes!

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The mini bag is so adorable, it’s one of the main reasons I wanted the pattern! They definitely take practice– don’t let this size be your first one. But it is SO CUTE. I used another beloved stripe (Tula Pink Tent Stripe) and classic Mini Pearl Bracelets and lined it with C+S XOXO in Ghost White. Naturally.

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Lately, I’ve been completely smitten with economy blocks. I loved Creative Grids’ Easy Pineapple Trim Tool for making my Lagoon pineapple blocks (post soon!) and made just two layers for the easiest, most accurate economy blocks out of my favorite Halloween prints.

DSCN3482.jpgOne of the blocks ended up upside down, but in the spirit of Halloween kookiness, I decided to leave it. It’s a small runner– about 12″ by 24″, but adds a cheery splash of color to the kitchen table.

DSCN3487.jpgI machine bound it with that same Rifle Paper Caterpillar Stripe as I used for my bag ties.

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This was my first try at free motion quilting, and I think it turned out ok but definitely not perfect. I wanted spiderwebs, and they turned out, once more, a little kooky.

A Loominous Cleo Skirt

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Even though I have plenty of other projects on my plate (stop looking at me, other Cleo pattern) I couldn’t get past the idea of a full, swishy skirt made from Anna Maria Horner’s gorgeous plaid woven from her Loominous 2 collection. The Cleo Skirt pattern from Made by Rae fit the bill perfectly, with a simple, flattering shape.

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I’m just in love with all of Loominous 2– each print has a slightly different feel and texture from being woven, and the colors are gorgeous. I chose the print “Plenty” in the berry colorway for my skirt, and I’m already planning a quilt with the scraps.

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While I initially thought I would design the skirt myself (I do have a degree in pattern making and it is a simple gathered skirt) ultimately I’m so glad I saved myself the time and used Rae’s pattern. I adore the pockets, the back elastic, the length, and the detailed instructions– I can’t recommend it enough. Her “skirtalong” blog posts are an awesome visual companion to the pattern.

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The only negative is my own fault– I didn’t interface the front waistband because, well, I was out of interfacing and didn’t want to make a second trip to the store that day. I also used regular knit elastic instead of non-roll, and it’s rolling like crazy, but tacking it down with a few vertical lines of stitching helped. I paired the skirt with an Old Navy long sleeve T, black tights, and my Dansko heels (which are THE BEST SHOES ON THE PLANET not even exaggerating, I can actually wear their heels on my arthritic feet) and I think with sandals it will be cute in the summer. I’m already planning a few more Cleo skirts, including something Christmas-y.

fall.jpgThe skirt was comfy enough to wear for a walk, though I did sub the heels for sneakers.