Monday, December 29, 2014

The Bend in the Road

"When I left Queen's my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don't know what lies around the bend, but I'm going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla." - Anne of Green Gables

Hello? Anyone out there?

Remember me? I'm Tara... and I fell off the face of the earth for half a year without any explanation. So I'm here to explain.


It got busy. And not just the crazy-month-and-then-let-down type of busy. I mean the non-stop-go-go-go-on-your-feet-for-half-a-year kind of busy.

In short, I went to college.

It started in February when I played piano and sang at my friend's solo recital. It was terribly fun, but I had no idea it would change life the way I knew it! Lo and behold, a friend from our old church struck up a conversation with my mom and asked where I was attending college. Mom explained that I wasn't, and this lady invited me to come audition for the college she works at for a music scholarship. It seemed like a crazy thing to me at the time - me? in college? for music? We waited, prayed, and finally decided to give it a shot.

That summer...was extremely difficult! I crammed to make the final ACT test of the year, had two days to prepare my audition for college (two piano pieces and three vocal selections), and basically put all planning for the rest of the year on hold while I waited to see if I'd be accepted. (ever tried to live your life with everything on hold? it's hard! especially for a long term planner like me!)

And accepted I was!

And so I went.

And I've made it through one very full, busy semester. I've met some wonderful people. I've been stretched and tested. I've grown so much in knowledge and ability. Yes, it's been hard, and yes, I miss being at home all the time (thankfully I can commute, so I still live at home), but I love being a music major!

So, who knows what lies ahead for the next year - right now it looks like I'll be studying music theory, singing opera to my heart's content, tickling the ivories till my hands ache, and did someone say playing Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof?

Amazing what can happen in a few short months!

All that said - I haven't sewn very much at all - my spare time I've wanted to spend with family and friends, not my sewing machine! BUT - over this winter break, I'm sewing some new outfits to make up for lost time, so I have a few posts lined up for you! So stayed tuned, and maybe I'll be back come summer break!

Happy New Year everyone! Here's to a wonderful 2015!
|| insert random collage of photos from the past few months ||
top: walking downtown with Grace, Naomi and Ruth, a watercolor I did, Newsies stage
middle: certificate for a vocal competition, lunch in the city with Kristen, Kathryn, Renee, and Laura, Cinderella with the Agnews
bottom: snuggling baby Ripley, gorgeous ceiling at the theater, masquerade ball with the Johansens and Agnews

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Of Ric-Rac and Polka Dots...

This was one of those projects I was SO excited, yet dreading to make. I found the fabric at Joann last December, and got it as a birthday gift to myself, along with some red ric-rac, and dreamt about turning it into a 1950's dress. But I wanted something unique, and just didn't have the inspiration to decide what unique thing to do on it! :)

Enter: Lily.

A couple weeks ago, Lily and Gretel came up for a visit, so Lily could finish up a few dresses for Kathryn, and so Kathryn could take some more photos of Lily. :) Gretel and I just get the benefit of enjoying the fellowship, while Lily and Kathryn work. I personally love their business deal (L sews for K, K photographs and web designs for L), because that gives up plenty of excuses to get together! :)

But back to the dress.... Lily had been making a new navy polka dot dress, and Gretel had just finished a pink polka dot dress, and Kathryn already had a black polka dot dress. I was feeling a bit left out! :) Then we came up with the terrific idea of doing a polka dot 1950's day! So Lily helped me come up with a doable idea for my dress, and fitted it to me and everything. She's amazing. It all came together in about two days. :)

And it's a new favorite.
This was photo that we found to base the dress on. I loved the unique neckline, and that it had kimono sleeves, as I think kimono sleeves make things so comfortable!
Next came the very difficult part of finding a pattern that we already had that we could turn into this dress. We ended up using a combination Butterick #5707 and Butterick #5556 for the bodice, and part of Butterick #5556 for the skirt (though I made a stupid mistake, and had to turn it into a 7 panel skirt instead of an 8 panel skirt...). I drafted up a some wing cuffs, and after a couple tries to get the bodice to lay nicely, I had a new dress. :)
I decided to do pleats on the skirt rather than gathers, as pleats seem to be more flattering on my figure The front has one large pleat, and the back has two on either side. 
Another thing I love about this dress is that there are pockets. I should just put pockets in every dress I make because I really really love them! They're so handy! :)
Thanks to my sister for letting me borrow the belt and shoes for the photos! And thanks to her also for the photos - don't know what I would do without her expertise. This blog would be quite sad....

And huge thanks to the amazing Lily, since without her, this dress would most likely still be one large piece of fabric sitting in my sewing room. :)
Hope all you readers are having a splendid summer! I know I've been enjoying mine! 

P.S. I just realized the last time I posted was in May... goodness, how time flies! :) OH, and be sure to watch Kathryn's blog for photos of our Polka-Dot day, which included old cars, milkshakes, and some pretty fun poses....

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Meet Mylena Star....

She's poised.

She's graceful.

She's mysterious.

She's also fictitious. :) Mylena Star was a character I got to play at my friend's "Gatsby" themed birthday party! Each of us were given a character to play in a story, and we had to solve a murder mystery by getting information out of each other.
Emily had been planning this party for a few months, and I was excited when she first told me about it, because I knew I would *finally* start working on my 1920's dress. But I kept putting it off, and filling my time elsewhere, that when the invitation arrived, and it was only a week and a half before the party, I was kind of frantic that I wouldn't have time to finish the dress!

I decided that I'd have to abandon the idea of studying up on correct construction for the dress, and just work with the materials I had already. So while this dress isn't exactly accurate, it's very much 1920's inspired. :)

The dress started as a modern day formal dress I picked up at a thrift store. I pulled it out many times since I first got it, and attempted to construct something out of it, but it just never came together quite right. Having a deadline was one of the best things that happened to it. :)

In the end, the lining of the original dress stayed almost the same, with just some tucks added inside to pull it up higher (I didn't want to cut it just in case I end up reconstructing it at some point), and the skirt pieces got moved to the top of the bodice, creating that shapeless 1920's look. The straps are the old bodice back pieces. It closes with a zipper for the lining, and a hook and eye for the overlay.
Mmmmm...... beading!!!!!

All in all... it took me two afternoons to complete. I was fairly happy with how it came out... still had some faults, but it worked. The next day we went shopping for jewelry and make-up, and played with our hair (finger waves don't work so well with long hair...), and when I added all those things, I really loved the outfit. :)
A couple days ago my sister obligingly took some photos of me at our local historic opera house. They have a really picturesque room, that just works great for photo shoots!
Below are some photos of the actual party - there was a photo booth set up with headbands, pearls, fake cigarettes, and boas, and of course, we all took advantage of the props for some crazy 1920's photos. :)
^She's one of my favoritest friends. Ever.^
 The trio
And for those wondering, Kathryn's *fabulous* dress came from Unique Vintage. Isn't it incredible?!? Sadly, I don't know where Emily got her amazing dress, so I can't credit it here.
Thanks to Marty for catching this moment - laughter is the best!
And finally, one picture of the entire group.
Yep, we're crazy. And we know it. And we love it.
Thanks, Emily, for having us to your fabulous party! It was so much fun, and finally gave me the excuse to work on this dress! :)

Monday, May 5, 2014

New Business Alert!

Hey everyone... I know this blog has been rather silent of late, and I do have a couple posts in the works for you, but today I want to let you all know about my new business endeavor!

I'm selling gently used girls' clothing from upscale stores at a bargain price!

Go check out my new website, and have fun shopping! :)

I promise to be back soon with some new outfits!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Because... {Pink}

It's a balmy 40ºF right now! And, yes, I'm running around barefoot, pretending it's spring. Because with March comes spring fever... and I've got a rather bad case of it! :)
I had a couple of free afternoons last week, so I made a spring-y/summer-y dress, in honor of the warmer temperatures! :)

This was a remake... it was originally a size 18 dress that I picked up at the thrift store. (I know... what was I thinking, I'm no where near a size 18!) But it was actually really easy, once I got the itch to actually start working on it... it hung in our laundry room for about a year waiting for the perfect moment to get pulled out and refashioned. :)

So this is how it started:
And here's what it turned into:
First I ripped the bodice off the skirt, and ripped the entire bodice apart, except for the seam across the back shoulder. Then I just started pinning it onto the dress form to get the general fit and idea. The seams ended coming in quite a bit, the back shoulder came up, I re-pleated the front shoulders to fit, and I had to add bust pleats at the waistline. I took the sleeve pieces and made those into the neck ruffles.
The underdress I just took in at the front, back, and side seams. It originally had straps to hold it up, but I used those instead to finish the armholes, and tacked the underdress to the eyelet overdress. It's also attached at the waist seam.
The skirt already had triangle panels to add fullness to each of the skirt seams. I really didn't want to rip all that out, so instead, I did inverted box pleats on 4 of the seams, stitching them down to the top of the triangle piece, which worked perfectly! Still nice and full, but it fit to the waist, and added a fun dimension to the otherwise plain skirt.
Finally, I used some of the access fabric from the side seams, and made belt loops, since I'm addicted to wearing belts! :)
The entire thing took me less than two afternoons, and several Broadway soundtracks. :) It's a super comfy dress, and I predict it will get lots of wear this year. :)
Hope you are enjoying this *almost* spring weather as much as I am! Yay for seasons! :) 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Correct Colonial Caps

Last year around this time I was frantically trying to finish up my outfits for Williamsburg. Being the {insane} person that I am, I made 3 jackets and 2 petticoats, on top of the essentials - stays, shift, cap, neckerchief.

Combined with the fact that I was out of time, and not knowing the correct technique for making a proper cap, I ended up whipping one up in an hour on the machine, using modern sewing technique. I knew I wanted to create correct ones later on, when I would have time to actually put some work into them!

It only took me a year to get around to doing that! :P

So I made two caps, using Kannik's Korner's pattern. One is a split ruffle, and the other an un-split ruffle.
 For those who don't know the correct technique (like me!), I'll explain it a little bit. First, all the edges of the pieces are finished with a hand-sewed rolled hem. The edge of the ruffle and the caul (the largest piece) are gathered with a whipped gathering stitch, and then they are sewed to the band with another whipping stitch. Finally, there's a casing on the bottom for a drawstring.
The top of the band is pieced, rather than sewn on the fold.
Don't ask me why they went to all that work back then. Seems like a lot more work than it's worth, in my opinion! :) Modern technique is so much easier. :)

That said, I think they do look rather nice. :) I love how lightweight they are, and "fluffy". :)
 Un-split, or....
 ... split ruffle.
Which one do you like better?
I'd really appreciate feedback, so I can decide which one to wear this weekend! :)

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Dabbling in Crochet

When winter comes, I tend to prefer to stay out of the basement (which is where my sewing machine is), because it's either freeeeeezing cold down there, or super dry because of the heater. But I still itch to do crafting, so I decided to crochet some hats! :)

There are 4 kids that hold a really special place in my heart. And they were all born in December, so I made each of them a hat for their birthday.

First I started with baby Brendan's hat. I used this Newborn Ballcap Pattern, and it worked super duper easy! To make it look more like a newsboy cap than a baseball cap, I added a double-crochet band with buttons to the front above the bill.

 Then I thought for Trenor, that it would be cute to make him a matching hat with Brendan's because he was SO excited to have a brother! I used the same pattern, and just added a few rows.

Bella's hat I knew had to have pink in it, and be "princess-y". So I went with a beret style hat, that was white and pink, and then added a brown ruffle-y ribbon around it to tie it into the boys' hats. I used this pattern for Bella's hat.

And finally, Amber-girl. Amber LOVES animals, and especially "doggies". Whenever we skype them, she gets so excited to see my dog (more excited than to see us!), so I thought it would be fun to make her a puppy-dog hat! I used this "Patchy Puppy Dog Beanie" pattern.


Crocheting isn't my forte, and these projects were super easy, but I was happy with the results! :)
I promise I'll have a sewing post up soon, but please bear with me as I post the "other stuff I do" in the meantime! :)

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