Backrest/Lounge Pillow using McCall’s Sewing Pattern 4123

Since finishing up all of the dresses for the wedding back in September, I’ve been on a little sewing hiatus.  Not that I haven’t wanted to work on anything, but I think I just needed a break, both physically and mentally.  In the meantime, I’ve just been working on a few different knitting projects to keep busy.  I love that knitting is something that you can take on the go, and work on whenever you have a little downtime.

I finally realized my much needed sewing break was coming to an end as I was starting to look up projects, to sketch down ideas, and to get inspired by different fabrics I was coming across.

I had this McCall’s 4123 pattern in my stash for awhile because I was waiting to gather all of the materials for it.  My boyfriend and I love having movie nights at home, or sometimes we have our lazy days of NBA 2K and knitting.  I wanted to make us both some backrest pillows so we could be more comfortable when lounging around.  I chose View H (lounge pillow), and although I didn’t follow the pattern instructions exactly, it still came out great.

 

**A quick tip I learned from my boss recently is to interface the pattern pieces.**

GAME CHANGER!  I can’t believe I never thought of doing something so obvious!  It stabilizes the delicate tissue paper so it makes it so much easier to work with and also makes it last longer before getting worn out.  In the past, I’ve always traced them to kraft paper if I needed, but transferring markings is such a pain!  She suggested using just the cheapest Pellon fusible interfacing that runs $0.99 per yard at Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I’m not sure if you can see it clearly in the photo below, but it fuses easily to the tissue while still being able to see all of the necessary pattern markings:

pellon interfacing

The original version for View H, includes creating an inner pillow (of muslin or other inexpensive fabric) first that holds the stuffing.  The main fabric is supposed to be lined with fleece, and is meant to be removable (like a pillow case) with a Velcro closure.  I decided to skip all of this lol!  I also ditched the top handle and side arm pockets because I figured they would either not get used, or would get stuffed with trash.  I figured I’d save myself the trouble of extra unnecessary steps.

By skipping these options, it also helped keep the cost down.  The supplies needed to create 1 lounge pillow this altered way are as follows:

  • 2 yards fleece fabric (or other 60″ fabric)
  • Fiberfill for stuffing
  • 5 yds of cording (for piping)

I decided I wanted to do some fun prints because there are so many adorable fabrics out there that I rarely have use for.  I figured it would be a good opportunity to add a little color and personal touch.  Although the pattern suggests a home dec weight fabric, I went with some Blizzard fleece from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  Fleece is always cheaper this time of year, so it was also a more affordable option.  I went with a generic basketball print fleece for the boyfriend, and paw prints for me.

blizzard fleece joann fabrics

Since I plan on making at least two of these backrest pillows, I used the 10 lb box of Fairfield Poly-Fil brand of fiberfill.  This size runs around $50 at Jo-Ann, but I waited until I had a 60% off coupon!  They also have many different size packages.  If you’ve never bought the Poly-fil before, just note that it will expand almost double the size once you open the box.  This’ll give you a rough estimate of how much product you get.

fairfield 10 lb poly-fil

Cording for piping can be purchased by the yard or prepackaged.  I found this in the Home Dec section at Jo-Ann (where all of the curtain and upholstery supplies are located).  Since each backrest needs 5 yards, this 10 yard package was perfect for making both:

IMG_5048

Instead of using a Velcro closure, simply skip these steps in the instructions and sew all of the seams closed.  Be sure to leave an opening so you can stuff it with the fiberfill.  Once done, I just slip stitched the opening closed for a nice clean finish.  Don’t be shy with the stuffing either!  You want to make sure it has a nice firm shape to last awhile.  It’s so comfortable, we’re fighting over who gets to use it first lol!  Can’t wait to make my backrest pillow, and I’m thinking I might just make some for my nieces for Christmas!

mccall's pattern 4123 (2)

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Handmade Wedding Gown and Bridesmaid’s Dresses

WOWZERS!!  I’ve been M.I.A. on here for 2 months!!  Not TOTALLY without good reason, however.  One of the reasons is simply that my stinkin’ WordPress app has not been working on my phone!  Has anyone else had this issue?  My phone is my main source for updating, simply because it’s so handy.  I’ve already tried deleting and re-downloading the app, updating my software, etc., but nothing works.

More importantly, I’m sure you can tell from the title image what the main reason for my absence has been…

No, I didn’t get married lol.

I did however, have the exciting privilege of creating the wedding gown, bridal veil, and bridesmaid’s dresses for my younger sister’s wedding!  Although I’ve sewn some apparel in the past, this project was so completely out of my comfort zone.  I really hadn’t sewn many fitted garments, and if so, they were primarily from a manufacturer’s pattern.  It was really exciting (and at times overwhelming) to drape and draft all of the patterns myself.  I was pleased that I could figure out the order of make for the dresses with surprising ease.  At the end of it all, when you see it come to life, it’s such an amazing sense of accomplishment to know you did it on your own!

The Bridesmaid’s Dresses

When I first began the project, I originally assumed the bridesmaid’s dresses would naturally be the easier of the two.  WRONG!  In a sense, they were.  Since the material used was stretchy and the style was very drapey, the fit didn’t have to be perfect.  However, figuring out how the material draped best on the dress form was at the least, time consuming.  Another big difficulty I encountered was trying to fit the bust area, while maintaining the loose soft drape of both the front and back.  Ultimately, we just had to pin and sticky tape ourselves in.  Aside from some fit issues, I loved the feel of the fabric.  It was also fully lined so it was more forgiving and didn’t feel too thin or see-through.

The bridesmaid’s dresses were inspired by the Kotahi Gown by Gemeli Power:

handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit

The Bridal Gown & Veil

For the star of the show, the bride had some VERY specific requests, which is the main reason why I was making the gown in the first place.  We just knew it was going to be so difficult and/or expensive to find everything she wanted.

The silhouette she wanted was actually quite simple (thankfully!).  I can’t imagine trying to create something more elaborate with my limited experience!  She opted for a strapless trumpet style gown with a sweetheart bodice  The difficulty was going to be creating the right fit, and finding the perfect fabric.  We both searched everywhere, and ordered some swatches online.  Finding the perfect shade of a burgundy/marsala wine damask jacquard is no easy task…especially when the majority of the available options are either shiny and cheap, or carpet thick.  Fabric.com came through with the win!  I found this home dec/upholstery fabric which was 100% the idea she had in her head.  The picture doesn’t even do it justice:

home decor upholstery burgundy damask jacquard fabric

There were so many elements to her gown that I had never attempted before.  In addition to being fully lined, the bodice portion had a duck canvas underlining, rigilene boning, and a waist stay for added support.  I had also never inserted an invisible zipper in a lined dress, and it was nice to learn how to use the blind hem feature on my machine!  I’m secretly kind of addicted to it now!

We had to do about three different muslin mock ups because her measurements kept changing so drastically.  I was starting to get worried that I would never be able to get the fit right!  On our last one, I was soooo excited to see it FINALLY work out!  Her main request was to be super fitted throughout the bodice and hips, and then gradually flow into a trumpet style gown.  The front was darting out a little too sharply (in a more mermaid style), but it still worked out great.  The flow of the train is my favorite!

handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (5)

Finding the right veil fabric proved to be waaay more difficult than finding the gown fabric.  I found a stretchy knit lace from JoAnn Fabric.  The color was not a complete match, but the little bit of contrast gave a nice element to the look.  It was also quite heavy, so it’s a good thing she decided to go for a shorter veil.

I can’t wait to see the photographer’s photos because these cell pics just don’t capture how great the entire wedding and wedding party looked!

handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (4)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (6)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (1)

handmade burgundy damask jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (7)

handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit (2)handmade gray surplice drape bridesmaid gown with leg slit (3)handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (8)handmade burgundy jacquard trumpet mermaid style wedding gown (2)

Although each dress had it’s own areas that needed refinement, I’m so proud of what I created, and so happy that I could bring her visions to life!

As much fun as it was creating FOUR dresses, I’m so happy to get back to sleeping and eating on a regular schedule LOL!

Handmade Faux Leather Shoulder Bag – Made From an Ardente Design Purse Pattern

Wow!  It’s basically been a month since I last worked on a purse!  So much has been going on that I just haven’t had any time to tackle one.  I’m super excited for this one because it’s the most detailed bag I’ve attempted in quite some time- maybe ever.

It’s also exciting because it’s for my own personal use! My current purse has served me well for a lot of years, but it’s just worn beyond it’s time.  The edges are peeling off, and the straps are falling apart.  I realized I better retire it before it falls apart while I’m out and about.

I normally try to create my items without patterns if I’m able, but sometimes it’s too much of a hassle trying to figure out all of the dimensions and steps.  I found a PDF pattern on Etsy from Ardente Design, so I was able to get started on it right away.

The pattern itself was a little…frustrating.  There are a lot of important details not mentioned and a few differences in lingo that could really confuse a beginner.  Some areas really took me a moment to sort of “decode” what the instructions were trying to say.  The upside is that there are a lot of pictures provided to help.

For the bag, I tried to use as much fabric that I had on hand already.  I used a soft, tan vinyl for the main body, a linen remnant for the main lining, and a plain beige broadcloth.  All fabrics were purchased from Jo-Ann Fabrics.  I was so fortunate to have zippers on hand already as well!


My favorite part of this pattern was making the straps!  I LOVE the technique and I know I’ll definitely incorporate it into future bags.


I wanted to use the black and white linen for the entire lining, but since it was a remnant, there wasn’t enough.  I think the beige fabric ended up giving it an interesting contrast so I’m pleased!

Surprisingly, the part I struggled with the most, was the smaller zipper pocket in the main lining!  I don’t know if I was just too tired, or the linen moved too much, but I had to put it away for the night or else I was going to throw it out the window!!  The next day, I ended up ripping out the stitches and starting again.  It was worth it!


Overall, I love it.  It’s super sturdy with lots of room.  However, I do wish it was slightly smaller.  I wanted a large shoulder bag, but it’s just a little wider than I thought it would be.  Can’t wait to make another one!

Handmade Mini Quilted Suedecloth & Faux Leather Tote Handbag

I hate when I get the urge late at night to start making something because I just know I’ll stay up waaaaay too late working on it.  Of course, that was the case last night.  The result, this mini quilted handbag:


You wouldn’t believe, but this started out as something COMPLETELY different.  I was just sort of “wingin’ it” so it’s no wonder it ended up totally opposite of what I originally had in mind!  I’ve been wanting to do a large shoulder/tote bag out of this material so this made a great miniature mock up.  

This was the first time making handles like these, and it was easier than I thought.  It wasn’t wise however, to attempt sewing them on while being so tired.  What a pain to put on!  It also didn’t help that I had to put them on once the main body of the bag was already constructed (due to my “wingin’ it”).


I can’t wait to make a full size quilted tote, but next time I’ll be more prepared.  It would be super cute to add some rivets, a snap closure, and a pocket inside.

Stay tuned!

Black Vinyl/Faux Leather Bucket Bag

This is one of those projects that seems like it’s on the right path until you get about half way done, and realize you want to throw it across the room.  Even though it came out basically how I envisioned, there are quite a few things that need to be fixed.

I even went back and forth on whether it would just be a shoulder bag…no, a bucket bag…wait, shoulder? No, definitely a bucket bag.  Lol most of this happened because I was too lazy to write and plan out my process before starting.  The whole point is to build prototypes and patterns anyways so it’s not entirely a bad thing.

Overall, I’m happy it worked out and I know I’ll be super pleased once I make the necessary tweaks that will really up the quality of the handbag!