Welcome to Crafted by Carrie!

Formerly Apricot Adventure, my site was long overdue for a name and style update. But don't you worry, it's still the same content written by silly ol' me ... just behind this prettier facade!

Little White (Lace) Dress #2

If you’ve visited my blog in the past 6 months, you know that I’m in the midst of planning my wedding. I talk about it way too much – I know. I’ve also made way too many sewing commitments for the wedding. In December, when the wedding was 8 months away, my list seemed reasonable. And if it weren’t for the Pattern Review Little White Dress contest, I would have never made or finished my first LWD (which will probably be worn to the rehearsal dinner btw). Back in February after we went to Minnesota for some wedding planning, I realized it was 6 months to the big day and I better get going on all my plans. So I started my second little white dress with fabrics purchased from Mood when I was in NYC in January.

I made serious headway on the dress when I started it (blogged about here)…but then I got distracted and didn’t want to finish it. Thankfully, I had another timeline scare when I talked to my Maid of Honor who kindly reminded me it was now only FOUR months to the wedding. AHHHH. No more fooling around…I needed to finish this dress. So that’s exactly what I did this long Boston Marathon weekend.

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Bodice of the dress is By Hand London’s Anna dress and the skirt is just a big pleated rectangle (although I did use a rectangle pattern; McCalls 6833).  The whole dress is underlined with ivory silk twill and lined with a gray rayon Ambience. I really like that this dress is bridal without being overly white. The flowers on the lace are outlined with black thick thread/yarn that is held in place and covered with white thread – creating a gray appearance. Below is one spot on the dress where the black thread is starting to pop out. I’ll need to be especially careful at this location to make sure it doesn’t unravel any more. DSC_0133

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You can tell I didn’t follow the pleating instructions from the McCalls pattern and it was this step involving skirt design and creativity that held me up for 2 months. I played around with the skirt a LOT before I found a pleated layout that I liked. One of the problems I had while testing different skirt designs was that the lace/silk underlining doesn’t have a ton of drape. So I would pin a new pleated arrangement and it would look terrible for a week until the fabric relaxed and fell into a natural drape. I really wanted to line up the pleats with the bodice darts. In the end, I couldn’t make it work in the front, but I did line up the pleats with the darts in the back. This may have resulted in the back pleats being a tad too close together though.

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I hand sewed the lace to the silk underlining before starting and treated it as one. I did make sure to hem the underlining before sewing it to the lace so I wouldn’t have to worry about it later. I carefully trimmed the scalloped lace to hem the bottom. DSC_0145DSC_0138

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This dress is much girlier than I typically make or buy - but it’s a nice contrast to the much more structural and simple first white dress that I made. I plan on wearing this lace dress to the brunch we’re having on the Sunday morning after the wedding.

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Wow – I look really awkward when I curtsey. Maybe this isn’t so surprising though – no one ever described me as graceful :)DSC_0205 DSC_0203

Also, note to self – don’t bend over in this dress – it will come up!

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White dresses are really hard to photograph!! Most of the pictures that turned out the best were in the shade where you can make out the details of the lace. The pictures in the sun are perfectly nice though and they provide a different perspective on the dress.

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Dan was kind enough to take some of the pictures for me. However, his instructions for posing are a little less than helpful. They’re usually something like, “move around”, “do model poses”, or “just do something different”. This is me asking, “What do you want?!?!”. I’m super awkward in front of the camera haha

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This is a long post – I know – but at least it accurately reflects the amount of time I spent on this dress! Just a few more pics on the dress form and we’re done :)

DSC_0127 DSC_0132 I decided to use a gray zipper to coordinate with the lace and lining. Plus I think it looks much better than a stark white zip, which stood out more than the gray against the ivory silk and lace.DSC_0136 DSC_0130 DSC_0140 DSC_0144 DSC_0141

Friends, I leave you with two questions: With ribbon belt or without? I like how the belt accentuates the waist and breaks up the lace…but is it too girly??

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Second question: Should I make a petticoat to wear with this dress? Are the pleats droopy and lackluster? I wouldn’t consider myself a ‘petticoat sort of gal’ but I can see how it would help the skirt be more fluffy and light.

DSC_0177Thanks for reading!!

LIEBSTER AWARD?!?

I’m incredibly honored and humbled to have been nominated for a Liebster Award from Maris of Sew Maris!! Maris is such a talented sewer – she recently led a sew-along of the fabulous StyleArc Ziggi jacket AND she teaches kids sewing camps and other classes. Plus, she just seems so happy all the time and like a barrel of FUN. I was shocked to find an email in my inbox about a Liebster award from her….I couldn’t believe she knew I existed. I have a blog so I naturally want people to come visit my site, but I don’t think I’ll ever get over the shock that people DO visit – and actually come back!

liebster_2liebster-award1On a similar note, I recently decided to be more open to telling friends and non-sewers that I have a sewing blog. Well this backfired! I told two people and one friend thought it was a joke that (1) I even sewed and (2) I had a sewing blog that people actually visited. Her reaction didn’t bother me in content…what irritated me was that it was exactly the reaction I’d been hoping to avoid by not telling anyone about the blog. It won’t pull me from the hobby I love but it definitely doesn’t make me want to share my site with anyone else right away!!

The rules of the Liebster award seem to differ based on who gave you the award, but here’s my plan:

  1. Thank Maris (Done!)
  2. Answer her questions (see below!)
  3. Nominate a few small-ish blogs for the award (the recommended number of blogs seems to vary dramatically as well as how many followers constitutes a ‘small’ blog)
  4. Submit questions for them to answer in a post!

So let’s move on the Q & A section of the post! These are the questions asked of me by Maris:

What is your favorite period in fashion, and why?

Probably the 1920′s (flapper style) and 1970′s (bohemian style). Both of these era’s represent times when women were making important social progress and the clothes are great representations of these changes and newfound freedom. On the flip-side (and I hope to not offend all you Mad Men fans!), I’m not drawn to 1950′s style clothes because they remind me of a time when women were objectified and treated as such.

What do you most like to sew, and why?

Pretty dresses! They aren’t functional or wearable (save once every few years) but boy do I get giddy with excitement when I have a dress planned!  I love picking out the fabric and pattern and I actually make muslins and spend time lining up all the seams :)

If you could have a super power, what would it be?

To be able to fly. I have a dream at least once a month where I can fly. It’s usually a similar scenario where people are chasing me and I lift off the ground and fly away, just out of their reach.

What are you most afraid of?

Where to start?! I’m afraid of a lot of things. Highest on the list are: the dark, bugs (especially big bugs that move fast and unpredictably like dragonflies and silverfish), the ocean, fish, dark alleys, bears, bees, cemeteries, and the list goes on and on….

What makes you want to jump out of bed every morning?

This one is easy – sewing! Saturday mornings are my favorite. I can wake up knowing I have the entire weekend to sew and do things I genuinely enjoy. I complain about being busy, but truth be told, I enjoy having a lot to do. I usually make lists of all the things I want to accomplish during the weekend (including sewing, cooking, laundry, cleaning, etc) and then wake up bright and early on Saturday, have some coffee, and start checking things off the list!

What were your favorite 3 activities when you were a child?

I had to ask my mom for help on this one. According to her, my favorite thing to do was ‘imaginative play’. Whether it was playing house, dress up, or ‘Carrie Singer Carrie Dancer’, I liked using my imagination. ‘Carrie Singer Carrie Dancer’ was a game where I used the coffee table as my stage and the handle of the vacuum as my microphone and sang and danced. Yes – I’ve always liked attention :)  I also enjoyed playing with Legos, making forts and doing my ‘addings’. ‘Addings’ were my self-imposed homework – I would ask my mom to write long strings of numbers and I would add them together – simple as that. My nerdiness was displayed at a young age.

Some of my more fashionable photos as a child…
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Which is more important to you – if you could have only one or the other – color or design? Why?

Probably color. Even though I love wearing and sewing interesting designs, it makes me so happy to put on something with a bright fun color that makes me smile.

Share 5 things about yourself that most people don’t know.

  • When I was young I had 3 imaginary friends (Chomie, Norm, and Mr. John) and an imaginary language (chambalaise)
  • During college, I was really strong because of training for hockey. I was ~40 lbs heavier and could squat 250 pounds
  • I played 6 years of varsity High School hockey: from 7th grade through senior year
  • I spent a summer living in Warsaw, Poland
  • I LOVE gummy candy and have a huge sweet tooth
  • I come from a HUGE family – both my parents are the oldest of 9 children (and that’s only the beginning of a large extended network)

What is the best book you have read recently?

Well, my most recent read was Dan Brown’s Inferno. I really liked Da Vinci Code and Angels & Demons but just couldn’t get into Inferno. I suppose the last book I read before that was The Night Circus. LOVED that book.

What quality in a friend is most important to you, and why?

I picked out two qualities by thinking about the inverse question – what don’t I like in a friend?  Two qualities I came up with are confidence and optimism. I love people who are confident and comfortable in their own skin. Not afraid to say, do, wear or think what they want. I have a hard time connecting with people who aren’t confident and base their lives and behavior on gaining approval. I’m not saying I’m immune to people’s opinions, because I’m most definitely not (see above), but I don’t let it change who I am or my goals/interests. I don’t care if people think sewing is weird or only for old women (sorry blogger friends!), I enjoy it and will continue to enjoy it as long as I want! For the second quality (optimism), I have a hard time with pessimistic people who go through life complaining about everything, it drives me nuts! Life doesn’t always go as planned, and we all have lows, but I strongly believe that maintaining happiness and optimism will lead to the best possible outcomes. If you think the worst is going to happen, it probably will!

Now for my Liebster Blog nominations!

Finally, my questions are….

  1. What is your favorite garment you’ve made?
  2. Do your friends/family know about your blog?
  3. What’s your biggest pet peeve?
  4. Share 5 things about yourself that others probably don’t know.
  5. What is your favorite period in fashion, and why?
  6. What personal accomplishment are you most proud of and why?
  7. What three things would you buy first if you won the lottery?
  8. What quality in a friend is most important to you, and why?

Happy Easter or Passover or Spring to everyone! I hope you learned something new about me :)

 

Pattern Review Winter Street Dress…Styled for Spring!

Do clothes ever remind you of something that seems completely unrelated?

It actually happens to me quite often. For instance, this dress remind me of ice-cream cones in summer. It took me a while to come up with a reason why, but I’ve rationalized it must be because the colors are so similar to mint-chocolate chip ice cream. Not that I mind this association – who can resist a summers-day ice cream cone?!

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I’m mad at how washed out the mint color looks in these pictures…The mint is a beautiful color in person and contrasts perfectly with the black and white. Looks just like mint-chocolate chip ice cream. Except black and not brown :)

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As the title suggests, this is Deepika’s new design for Pattern Review – the Winter Street dress! (a sister to the Summer Street dress). Now I’ll be completely honest (cause that’s what reviewers are for right?!), I didn’t think the style was very ‘me’ when I printed it out. That is to say, it’s not the style I tend to gravitate towards. So I decided to make a fast muslin to check style and fit. I followed the charts and cut a straight size small. My measurements are 35.5″ bust, 28″ waist, and 36″ hips so it was a perfect size match. While taping and cutting out the paper pattern, I was worried it was going to be too small. We sewers have the ability to look at a flat pattern and instantly determine whether we think it will fit, of course I think we can all agree that we tend to overestimate our actual size. The point being, I didn’t think I’d be able to get it on!

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Of course everything turned out great. The dress fits wonderfully and moreover, I love the style! The tulip skirt is flattering and the inverted pleats really do give just enough wearing ease through the belly region…so you can feel comfortable even after a big meal :)  Before making the muslin, I added 3 inches of length to the skirt for muslin but quickly found it was an unnecessary change. I love the length of the skirt as drafted and since it tapers in at the bottom there’s no need to worry about a swift wind lifting anything up!

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Given that spring just sprung in Boston, I knew I wanted to adapt it for warmer weather. When I looked through my stash, I found some mint ponte (from Stylish Fabric) sitting next to white and black striped interlock fabric (from Hart’s) and I knew immediately that I needed to combine these fabrics for the dress. I’ve been drooling over all the Coco’s throughout the blogosphere and took a tip from Tilly to Breton-ize the dress by adding a striped yoke. I also shorted the sleeves.

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THE TULIPS ARE BLOOMING!!! GAHHHH – IS SPRING FINALLY HERE?!

I think all of us reviewers can agree that the pattern is super fast and easy to make, even with the contrast yoke! For this version I removed about 1/2 inch from each side of the back piece. I found that the front waistline was just the right length but the back needed to be shortened to avoid swayback drooping. I was stupid and didn’t use clear elastic to stabilize the waistline and it was obvious that the pleats were weighing down the top (this is in the instructions btw, I just didn’t follow them, whoops). So, I unpicked my overcasting and everything, and sewed clear elastic to both the skirt and bodice pieces because everything had stretched out a lot by this point. This made the pieces come back together easily and now the waistline and pleats are much more stable.

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I know I’ve got a winner when Dan approves…and he definitely gave me a thumbs-up! He’s said a few times now that this dress reminds him of something Zooey Dechanel would wear as Jess in New Girl…I guess that’s a compliment right?! DSC_0095 DSC_0111Don’t miss the other stops of the Winter Street Dress Blog Tour! So many cute dresses!

Mad Men III Challenge: Megan Draper meets Irene Galitzine

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I wasn’t planning on taking part in Julia Bobbin’s Mad Men challenge. But last Sunday morning as I was reading through the blogosphere I was motivated to do one final Google image search of “Mad Men dresses” to see if I could find a dress that could be easily replicated with a pattern or fabric already in my stash. Unlike my previous searches, I finally found inspiration: Jessica Pare as Megan Draper.

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I quickly learned that she wore this dress during a memorable performance of Gillian Hills song “Zou Bisou Bisou” for Don’s surprise birthday party.  Megan Draper’s character is influenced by the 70′s and if I had planned ahead, it would have been a hard choice which of her outfits to recreate.  I looooove her style.

I was in luck, because I had just bought this 1970′s Irene Galitzine vintage pattern. I bought it specifically for the jacket, but the blouse was the perfect base pattern to make Megan’s black mini-dress and test the pattern sizing in the process. IMG_2089I want so many Galitzine vintage patterns and found out that I’m not the only one – they’re among the most expensive on Ebay!

Without further delay…let the show begin!

I apologize in advance for how many pictures I have…I had way too much fun dressing up for this :)DSC_0018 DSC_0021 DSC_0024 DSC_0031 DSC_0028 DSC_0027 DSC_0025 DSC_0035DSC_0043 DSC_0049 DSC_0061 DSC_0059 DSC_0057

It took quite a few attempts to get a pose similar to the one from the show :)

And yes, in case you did notice, my ‘microphone’ is our TV remote with duct tape on the end – gotta improvise!

Construction Notes:

This was my first vintage pattern and I want to make more! The pattern markings were so clear and obvious and the directions were incredibly detailed. Much more so than current Vogue patterns.

I bought some embroidered polka dot chiffon and a black georgette to underline the body from my local Sewfisticated. The body is still slightly sheer – I probably should have used a more opaque fabric. I used some stiff black nylon fabric as underlining for the collar and cuffs. The cuffs and collar, BTW, are french cuffs and french collar (??, is that a thing??). It’s constructed in a similar way as the cuffs anyhow. I don’t own cufflinks and don’t plan on buying any, so I just folded down the collar and cuffs and slipstitched them down.

This dress sewed up very quickly since I used absolutely no seam finishes. Haha! I made this dress purely for the fun of dressing up! But the drafting was wonderful – every piece came together so well and it fits fabulously through the neck, shoulders, armholes, and bust. There are shoulder darts and they fit really well. The neckline is tight but doesn’t choke.

DSC_0013DSC_0074 DSC_0071Yesterday morning I decided to cut the hem without trying it on == STUPID idea. Before it was right above my knees and I knew I wanted it a little shorter to replicate the original mini-dress, but after my ‘blind’ hem (haha pun intended!) it was way to short to allow for any sort of hem. Which was fine with me because I didn’t want to have to do a rolled hem on a dress I’ll probably never wear again. DSC_0069 DSC_0067I couldn’t tell from the pattern how oversized the sleeves were going to be, but they turned out just right I think. Not so big that they get in the way, but big enough for the style to be noticeable. DSC_0015I’m considering shortening it even further to make it the blouse it’s suppose to be. Here it is tucked into jeans to simulate a blouse. I really like it like this actually – I’m just hesitant that it’s out-dated and wondering where I’ll ever wear it again. My biggest concern with it is the neck which it too high. I suppose I could just shorten it.

DSC_0077 DSC_0081 DSC_0084 And an obligatory picture with Miss RubyDSC_0091You may have noticed that I actually ‘did’ my hair and makeup for these photos!! In the last week, I have purchased my first blow-dryer and curling iron ever. Yes, that’s right – I did not owned my own blow dryer. It tell’s you how little I care about how my hair looks! I only get it cut ~once a year and in between cuts I have been known to either cut it myself or allow others to cut it. Anyway, it’s fun to get dolled up once in a while :)