Just like last year, I made a dress for a military ball this year. My husband and I weren’t able to make it to the Navy ball, but we were able to make it to the Strike Fighter Ball. This ball is only for pilots and flight officers in the fighter community. It was a blast to say the least! As usual, the Navy knows how to party.
Out of the three ball gowns I’ve made, this one is probably my least favorite. I love the sleeves on this one much more than last year’s, Simplicity 2053, dress. My favorite, despite the color, was my first ball gown I have ever made the Simplicity 1909.
Anyways, this year I made a Navy blue dress, it looked more like blurple (blue-purple) in the store, which made me excited. It turned out just blue in the pictures though. I used a David Tutera stretch taffeta from JoAnn’s Fabric store. I really liked working with the stretch taffeta, it was much more manageable than crepe back satin. I used view C to make my dress, but didn’t put any lace over it. I wanted a nice place dress for the ball. I also made it solely on my serger and my Featherweight! She is such a good little machine. It made making this dress fun!
It took me about three days to make. I don’t think I’d make this dress again, I might do view B if I did and use it as a nice little black dress. I made a size 14 and should have gone with a 12. I had to bring in the dress quite a bit, which is probably why I don’t want to make this dress again. I also had to cut off about 5 inches from the skirt length so I could walk in it. I usually have to make my dresses shorter, but 5 inches is a lot especially when I am wearing platform heels that give me lots of height. I also didn’t like that my fabric I was working with didn’t have a right or wrong side. That made doing the sleeves difficult. I hate doing sleeves in the first place and luckily my husband was there to help me understand the pattern.
Once I figured out my sizing from measuring myself, I went to a 14, but should’ve stayed with the recommended 12. I sometimes think I’m bigger than I am. Haha. I guess I’d rather have made it too big than too small. So that’s a good thing. After figuring out my bust size, the directions are fairly simple in figuring out which size to cut, I started cutting the pattern. This is always tedious work.
After cutting the pattern and following the directions of putting the sides and front then back and sides together… I was at the point where in the directions, you are supposed to put the wrong sides together then add the sleeves. Then you’re supposed to try it on and make markings of where you need to take in or let out. I wish I would have gone against the directions and skipped all this. It seemed pointless to me. I guess if you’re a very oddly shaped person it could help. All I did was learn that I need to bring the waist in about 2-3 inches each side and make it all a little smaller. Then you take all the work you just did apart and assemble it the right way and sew where you made your markings.
Then you work on the invisible zipper (I still need an invisible zipper foot, FYI) and then the neckline. From here on out the directions were simple and easy to follow.
I didn’t really follow the directions for finishing the top zipper portion, I just sewed so it looked good and then hung the skirt up overnight so it could “settle” as the directions say. Then in the morning I put my heels on and had my husband help with making the marking so I could hem it. I cut about 5 inches off the skirt and them hemmed it. That’s a lot to take off especially even when I’m in huge platform heels.
Anyways… Here is my finished dress…
I have finally finished my first t-shirt quilt! It was, in all honesty, a fairly easy project. The hardest part is the cutting, it’s so time consuming. If I really cared about the end size of my quilt, I’d think another hard part would be figuring out how big you need to cut the shirts to make the size of quilt you wanted. I knew I didn’t want a baby/lap quilt or a king size, so I was happy with anywhere in the middle. This is going to be a quick “how to” because there are so many ways to quilt and so many blogs that do a great job and explaining the process. It is fairly simple. The one rule that I’d like to pass on, that my mother instilled in me, is… “there are no rules for quilting”
- LOTS of shirts
- Fabric scissors
- Rotary cutter and mat
- Grey thread (whatever color you want)
- Sheet (or fabric for the backing)
- Yarn needle
- Quilting safety pins (to baste quilt sandwich together)
Once I had all the shirts cut and sized, I played with the layout of the shirts. And no, I did not use any stabilizer. I wanted my quilt really soft. There are people who have to use stabilizer and those who don’t care. I find there are pros and cons to both. For my next shirt quilt, I will try and use stabilizer. I think my quilt turned out perfect without it though.
Next I had to start sewing the shirts together. I sewed them by rows first. Then I sewed the rows together. Then I made a border with my sheet. It was a Cal king sized sheet and so there was plenty of fabric. You can click HERE to see how I did it. It actually is a great way to make your quilt even. When sewing shirts/blocks together the quilt can become uneven.
Once they were sewed together I cut my batting (I used cheap polyester low loft batting from Walmart). I cut it a little bigger than the shirts, basically a few inches of the batting was sticking out from the edges. I also cut my old sheet (back of the quilt) the same size.
Then I made the quilt sandwich. This is where you put all your layers together and use your safety pins to make is stay and thus… start the quilting process!!! I actually sewed around the edges (where the silver border and shirts meet) of my quilt to make sure it wouldn’t come apart. Then with my yarn, I quilted it.
Then I cut the edges of the quilt sandwich to make it all uniform and even. Last I sewed on my nice white binding to put it all together. Throughout the entire quilt, I did use a 1/4 inch seam allowance. There are plenty of tutorials on Pinterest on how to do each individual part of the quilt, if you need assistance. The part I needed the most help on was adding the border to even out the quilt.
It isn’t perfect, but that’s what makes it a quilt!
Lately I’ve been looking for some good tulle skirt tutorials. Read a lot of different blogs and watched quite a few on YouTube (here are two blogs that have really great tutorials that are worth checking out! Click HERE and HERE). I love tutus! I’ve been wanting one for a long long time! I never really thought about making my own until I bought a new sewing machine and finished some projects. Then I thought, why not make my own? I really like the semi-puffy looking ones not the flat looking ones. If you’re going to wear tulle, why not have it be semi-puffy like a mild tutu?! Well, I had an old white tiered skirt that I bought from K-Mart forever ago in the little girls section that was ripping on the tiers and I thought why not upcycle it into something else? So that’s what I did. I made it into a tulle skirt! Here is how I did it.
- Old skirt (or a skirt lining – 2 yards of satin and a waist band)
- 8 yards of tulle (180″ wide tulle)
- Measuring tape
- Thread to match
- Sewing machine
You will need to seam rip your old skirt. Separate the skirt, lining, and the band. You’ll need a lot of patience and you will definitely become best friends with your ripper.
*If you don’t have an old skirt to convert then you can get about 2 yards of satin for the lining. For the lining, you can cut it the same length as the tulle (I like it when they’re shorter, but whatever you want), and as wide as your hips plus about 10″. Make your lining. It’s really simple, not complicated. Then stretch your elastic around your waist and cut a comfortable but snug length (plus 1/2″ for seam allowance). Use a zig-zag stitch to bring the waist band together. Click HERE for a skirt tutorial, but don’t attach the lining to the band!
Once you have all the pieces seam-ripped, you can throw the old skirt away. Don’t forget to clean up the thread from the old skirt so your band and skirt lining are nice and clean.
You’ll need to cut your tulle. First, measure the skirt lining, which was about 32 inches around for my old skirt. I actually left the tulle folded in half (the way it looks on the bolt), I measured 64 inches across and cut then cut 6 inches off the bottom for my length I wanted. So I was basically working with two layers at a time. Since it was folded in half. You can cut more or less depending on your desired length. Then I pleated and pinned the tulle so it would fit perfectly around the skirt lining. It took about 10 pleats to make it fit around the lining. Don’t worry if it doesn’t match up or over lap because you’ll be doing two more layers of tulle. Since the tulle is folded over, your skirt will end up being six layers.
Then with the right sides together (sides that will be showing on the outside), pin the band to the skirt. First pin the back to the back of the skirt, then the front to the front of the skirt. Then I did the sides to the sides of the skirt. Lastly, pin the fourths of the dress to the fourths of the elastic. Now you’re ready to sew the band to the skirt!
YOU’RE DONE! Whoopie!