Summer Afternoon, Summer Afternoon

I've been having a lovely summer, just haven't had much time for crafting or posting, for many reasons. I'm looking for a new job, planning to move in the next year, and I spent a two week vacation at home in the states (see below!).

But now, I'm shifting into DIY Wedding planning mode because we'll be having a church wedding in the Spring (we were married by a justice of the peace last year).

Lately I've been perusing these sites for inspiration:
100 Layer Cake
Once Wed (I love the Inspiration Galleries)
Vintage Glam
The Wedding Chicks
Something Old, Something New(I have to include an RI blogger!)

Have I missed any good wedding sites (I mostly like just scanning photos!)?

small wickford

Hopefully I'll be able to post more regularly now!

Retro Shift or MuuMuu?

retro shift

I finished another project from Chic & Simple Sewing. This dress wasn't quite as easy as the skirts. I couldn't understand the instructions for attaching the neckband, and this is my second try, which looked much better than the first. I omitted the top stitching on the neckband, because there wasn't any on the photo in the book, and it didn't look good on my first attempt. I did make my own bias tape, and am happy to have learned how to use it around the arm holes, very easy.

I think I could wear this as a beach coverup, but honestly it doesn't look as cute on me as it does on the dress form, and nowhere near as cute as it does on the model in the book. It kind of looks like a muumuu when I wear it. Too bad, because I really like the fabric.

There's a great flickr group of projects from the book.

Martha Stewart Encyclopedia of Crafts

I wasn't sure if I needed this book as I already have quite a large library of old Weddings and Living issues, but after flipping through it at Borders, I decided I needed to add it to my collection.
MS E of C

The book really is an encyclopedia! There are so many different types of crafts and it has given me an insight into many new projects. It is very difficult to pick my favorite chapters, but I'll try- scrapbooks, block printing, calligraphy, and jewelry making. And the clay flowers were new to me, but I'd like to try it. Noticeably absent were embroidery and sewing. I'm hoping that means Martha will soon release a book devoted to sewing. I mean she can't possibly publish anymore dessert books, after Cupcakes, Cookies, and Wedding Cakes.

Right now this book is sitting next to my couch so I can browse through during marathon sessions of motorcycle shows with my better half. I'm pretty sure I will flip through this for years to come and still be inspired by the beautiful ideas and photos.

Fabric for Summer

Since noticing that most of my stash fabrics are 2 yards or less, I decided to stock up on some new fabrics for my next clothing projects. And because I've had such wonderful customer service lately, I wanted to put the good word out there for anyone else getting their fabric online.

summer fabric

On the left is my recent delivery from Sew, Mama, Sew. This was my first purchase here, and I will definitely be ordering again. Because I'm in Puerto Rico, I was charged international rates (as many companies do), but when the USPS shipping price came out much cheaper, I was given a refund of the difference! What a pleasant surprise. It is nice to see companies that care about their customers. I highly recommend Sew, Mama, Sew and their wonderful blog.

To the right is my recent purchase from Purl. Let me a assure you that it was packaged just as beautifully as my Sew Mama purchase (in lovely turquoise tissue paper), but I've already washed and cut into the fabric, and this is just a remnant of what's left! I've ordered from Purl a few times already, and I always get my packages very quickly, and my emails get answered just as quickly. Because Purl always leaves me with such a wonderful experience, I'm hoping to stop into the store this summer when I'm back in the states to see the selections in person.

I was lucky enough to get my hands on some Far, Far, Away fabric and will be hoarding it away for future projects. I already have some of her dogs from the Lightning Bug line and some mermaids from Mendocino. Heather Ross is definitely my favorite fabric designer. This is my first experience with cotton gauze and I was honestly a bit surprised, I imagined it to be a bit more like silk georgette for some reason. Feeling it in person, it actually reminds me of linen because of it's bigger weave. Anyway, I do love the look and feel of it, and am hoping it will sew up nicely. My other purchases are the Robert Kaufman London Calling (discovered via True Up). I had a very difficult time tracking this down, and was relieved to find some left at Sew, Mama, Sew. Now I've learned my lesson, if I really love a particular fabric, I'll order right away! My last fabrics are from the Alexander Henry, My Secret Garden collection. The pink from Sew Mama, the blue from Purl. I discovered these fabrics on the lovely dress created by Amy Karol.

Now that I'm going to have a whole floral wardrobe, I'm pretty sure that with my luck it means we'll be moving to Alaska soon!

Chic & Simple Sewing 

chic and simple

Chic & Simple Sewing is my new favorite sewing book. I've already sewn 2 skirts, the Modern Circle Skirt, and the Wrap Skirt. And I've ordered fabric to make the Retro Shift Dress (I don't know why I always seem to buy only 2 yards of fabric, which is never enough to make clothes from).

The clothes in the book are all simple & stylish and I'm sure I'll make most of the 23 projects. I think it is rare to find a sewing book where I want to make more than half of the designs, but I plan to create a whole wardrobe from this book! The best part of the book is the full size patterns- the patterns are all laid out separately on the sheet without overlap- which makes it much faster to get to sewing.

I highly recommend this book, the patterns are easy enough for a beginner (no buttonholes or zippers) but stylish enough that I think even advanced seamstresses will be interested (especially in the Classic Wrap Dress, Sunday Dress, and Opera Dress). If you are thinking about buying the book, you should check the pattern sizing first- I wear the largest size provided, and I typically wear a size 4 in store bought clothes. The sizing chart (as well as a very good review with book photos) is shown on craftypod here.

chic circle skirt

chic wrap skirt

When I make these again, I think I will use a more lightweight fabric for the Modern Circle Skirt because my linen gets a little bunched at the elastic waist and doesn't look very flattering (which is why I made the tie belt to try to hide some of that bulk). And for the Wrap Skirt- I'll definitely be making more of these because it was so quick to sew up. I plan to cut the waist band on the bias (to make it smoother), and add to its length (to tie it in front).