Go Home Cupcake, You're Drunk...

Posted by Kristin on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.
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The World of Pinterest is an ugly one.  It is a world full of lies and deception and people with mad photoshop skills.  One quick search of "cupcakes" and I was tangled in its wicked web...I drank the poison and for a moment forgot that I have no baking skills.  Not only was I going to bake cupcakes, but I was going to bake them in ice cream cones and top them with three colors of homemade buttercream icing in such a beautiful way that I would be the envy of the party. 

Who could resist the magic of these cupcakes?  Not me...so I gathered all my ingredients and set to work.


1.  Wrap cake cones in foil and carefully place them into muffin tins.
2.  Fill about 1/2 full of cake batter (get whatever is on sale).  When you have leftover batter, go through and even them all up.  It just means more cake, right?
3.  Bake as directed on box.
4.  Continue to bake because your oven only works in the back.
5.  Remove from oven and let cool.
6.  Panic slightly because your full cones didn't mean bigger cupcakes, it meant cupcake volcanoes exploding with hot cupcake batter/lava, which melted the sides of the cones.
7.  Cut the tops off of the cooled volcanoes in the hopes of salvaging some (and any other imperfections will be covered with icing of perfection).

 8.  Make frosting according to recipe found on random website.  Yum, tastes like plain butter!
9.  Divide into thirds.  Add cocoa powder to one, leave one white, and add really old red food coloring to the rest (so old that it has congealed like blood at the tip, causing it to explode when you try to add 1 drop).
10.  Start with chocolate.  Place in ziploc baggie and start to pipe it around the edges.  Put in stronger freezer bag when your sandwich baggie bursts open.

11.  Briefly wonder why you have continued this far.

12.  Fill new freezer bag with white (because you forgot that pink disguised as vampire red was next).  Pipe it on top of chocolate.
13.  Fill last bag with what was supposed to be pink.  Dollop it in the center.
14.  Why are you still doing this?  Stop the madness!
15.  Shake nonpareils on top vigorously.  And all over kitchen in process.
16.  Set out ant bait in anticipation of the ants that will soon be all over your nonpareiled kitchen.
17.  On way to event, pick up chocolate pie from K & W and lie. 

I hate you, Pinterest.

Selfish Sewing Week

Posted by Kristin on Sunday, May 4, 2014.

April 28th kicked off imagine gnats' "Selfish Sewing Week."  I should not have participated since I can never finish anything in a week and all of my sewing is technically selfish.  But I decided to try to sew something anyway.

During this past month I have experienced some extreme lows as well as some amazing highs.  I can't speak to most of it quite yet, but one of my lows was losing my dog Bailey to a pituitary macrotumor in the middle of April.  Bailey had been my faithful companion for the past 13 years.  I still have days when I'll remember something special about her and tear up.  But we are adjusting to life without her being here and we were all lucky to have experienced her unconditional love (except for Phoebe...their relationship was a little one sided...Phoebe did the loving and Bailey tolerated her...sometimes).  My other dog Max is currently curled up at my feet in a Benadryl induced snooze after eating a bumblebee. 

Right after losing Bailey, I traveled south to Raleigh to visit my sister.  On the way I stopped at a wonderful fabric shop just outside of Chapel Hill.  I have always wanted some Japanese Echino fabric, but just hadn't been able to justify the cost.  But when I found a bolt of it in Mulberry Silks in Carrboro, I momentarily forgot that I wasn't a millionaire and splurged on a bit.  (*Note to self: open a fabric shop like Mulberry Silks here in SW VA...JoAnn's just isn't cutting it and I don't realize how much I'm missing until I go to a specialty fabric shop.)

I loved it!  After my past few weeks, I felt that I deserved at little bit of selfish treating.  Instead of patiently agonizing over what pattern would work best, I immediately dove in and created another Laurel.  It's only my fourth Laurel dress.  Is that excessive???  I also thought a simple shift would work best with this pattern, I wanted to leave most of it intact.  It has birds!  It had to stay all birdy.

Since the canvas linen is a little scritchy scratchy, I lined it in a basic white cotton.  I really wanted to use a green to line it, but JoAnn's didn't have anything in the weight and softness that I wanted in a lining (again...open a shop).  And I hate slippery polyester linings.  I'll sometimes use them, but for a summery dress I went with cotton.  Now that I have learned to line garments, I can't believe I ever made stuff without lining it!  And I put cardigans over EVERYTHING!

Here I am bravely showing off my untanned and untoned arms.  Oh, and Phoebe must have heard the camera clicking and ran from upstairs to be in a shot or two. Don't mind my lack of live grass.  Two dogs in a postage stamp backyard doesn't bode well for grass growing. 

My previous three Laurels were all cut the same, size 16 in the bodice and grading out to an 18 around the hips.  But my last Laurel was a little snug up top, my poor bust darts wouldn't fit over my bust.  I can only wear it with a cardigan or jacket (which isn't a big deal...since I wear cardigans with EVERYTHING).

For this dress I admitted to myself that I was larger than a 16 and made a straight up 18.  Guess what?  It's too big in the bust.  Oh well, nothing that a cardi can't fix!

So although almost 98% of my sewing is for me, I am deeming this dress selfish sewing because I bought fabric that I really wanted and forgot about price for a moment.  Which is why my most recent fabric purchase was $5/yard....

by imagine gnats

Early Birthday Wishes

Posted by Kristin on Tuesday, April 8, 2014.
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I have a milestone birthday (40 - gulp) coming up in one month exactly.  So in early celebration of me, I'm making my birthday list. Selfish?  Yes.  But I think I've previously established that I can be quite selfish.  Plus some of these gift ideas take some lead time (such as patterns from London or printed to order fabric from Spoonflower).  So all my family and friends can go ahead and start collaborating the gift giving!  Ok, I don't actually expect to receive everything on my list...or anything.

So with no further ado, here are all of my current wants in no particular order.  Enjoy!  You might even find something you can't live without. (Unless you don't sew.  In that case all of this will seem pretty darn boring.)

Doctor Who fabric!  Who can't live without Doctor Who fabric?  Ha.  I think a skirt of the Doctor's Favorite Things would be amazing.  So about 3 yards of a nice cotton silk (or basic cotton...it is a bit pricey) should make me a lovely skirt.

Order here from Spoonflower
Next up are a couple of books.  I have a love of all things Colette (mainly because I actually fit in their patterns...I don't ask for much) and Colette Patterns is releasing a new book on knits next week.  And if you pre-order, you can also purchase their two new knit patterns as a bundled price.  Contain your excitement, will ya?  So for the low, low price of $50, you can get the new book, a skirt pattern, and a dress pattern.  If you buy this for me I'll make you a skirt (Unless you are a guy.  But then again you might like that kind of thing.  So I'll still make you a skirt.  Just buy your own fabric, alright?)

Purchase here at Colette Patterns
My other book choice is by Natalie Chanin, the same artist behind the Alabama Chanin clothing line.  I don't have thousands of dollars to spend on a handmade Alabama Chanin garment, but I do have some skill and have a lot of time coming up this summer to spend creating my own skirt. 

Only $2860. I should buy two.
Or the book. Only $24.88. A complete steal in comparison, right?
But I'm not done yet!  The sewing world raves (and by "world" I mean the three or four bloggers I regularly follow) about the patterns that By Hand London creates.  Only By Hand London doesn't sell digital patterns (the internet is way faster and cheaper than snail mail across the pond) which is why I don't own one yet.  By Hand London just released the Flora dress and I'm also dying to make the Anna dress.

The Flora Dress
The Anna Dress
And fancy new dress patterns require new fabric! I picked out this lovely cotton voile by Cloud 9 fabrics for the Flora pattern.  The Flora dress just screams for a floral pattern.  All jokes aside, wouldn't this be the perfect summer dress?

Lunada Bay in Coral
And can't leave Miss Anna out of the fabric fun!  Luckily, By Hand London has already done all of the work for you by creating a kit with the pattern, fabric, notions, and a smashing tote bag.  The only drawback is this kit has since sold out.  I pinned it a few weeks ago and I guess everyone had to have what I wanted and snatched them all up!  I hate you all.  Not really...please post pics of your Anna's in this fabulous blue floral so I can drool with envy!

It was available here but, alas, is no more.

And that is my want list. For now.  It could change (and by "change" I mean "get longer") by next week.  I was also kind enough to make sure my entire list was online orderable for easy access.  If you need my shipping address, let me know. 

Happy Birthday to me!

Cuckoo for Coco!

Posted by Kristin on Friday, March 21, 2014.

The past couple of weeks have been absolutely dreadful for me.  First, a guy sort of missed the road while driving and managed to do $8500 worth of damage to my house.  Then Miss Bailey was diagnosed with congestive heart failure along with a few other things (none of which are good).  I truly thought that vet visit would be our last one ever.  And work has just been...well...work. 

On the bright side, the driver's insurance is covering all repairs.  Miss Bailey's medicine seems to be working.  And it is almost Spring Break (provided Mother Nature stops dumping snow and ice on us). 

So I am going to celebrate with a couple of Coco's!  It is rare that I finish a dress in a weekend, much less two.  It is also rare that I use a pattern and then turn around and make another.  But Tilly's Coco is just that fabulous.  It demanded two dresses be made immediately. 

Tilly and her Coco  
The Coco is designed to be made out of super comfy knits.  You can do a dress or a top.  Your neck and sleeves can be accentuated with retro cuffs and funnel neck or left plain.  I made two dresses without the cuffs or funnel neck.  But, I livened each up with some pattern/color blocking.

Coco #1
When determining my size for the Coco, I was lucky (or unlucky enough) to have a chest measurement a good three inches larger than the largest size.  My waist and hips fit, but the girls didn't.  So I took the cheater's way out and graded the entire front and back up by 1.5 inches.  I know I didn't need the extra from the waist down, but my poor brain had melted from stress and I just couldn't make myself figure out how to do an FBA on a dress this basic.  Sad, I know. This made my shoulders a little large.  Oh well. 

My inspiration was a basic brown t-shirt I bought at Talbots on megasale ('cause the only way I can afford Talbots is on sale).  My tee had some cute flowers appliqued down the side.  Unfortunately, the shirt shrunk in the length and I just don't have the body for a belly baring tee.  But I've held onto it because I liked the flowers.  This is one of the reasons I am a borderline hoarder...I keep clothes that don't fit because they are cute crammed in a drawer. 

Yes it is covered in cat hair.  Every single time I went to press the camera's button Phoebe turned it into a bed.

I purchased some amazingly soft organic knit from Fabric.com in fuchsia and chocolate.  The pink became the body of the dress and the chocolate formed a band at the hem.  I then cut my flowers out of my t-shirt and sewed them to the skirt of my dress.  And voila...a Coco was born!

A little off topic..but how do you like my Bonnie Raitt hair?  It is red with an ever growing gray stripe in the middle.  I had been trying for a month to make a hair appointment but due to snow, or illness, or trucks hitting houses, we had to reschedule about three times.

I adore this dress.  And no, my side hem isn't longer than the rest, that is a shadow.  I didn't notice it until now.  And my curtains are pulled so you can't see my ghetto'd up front window covered in plywood and garbage bags.

Coco #2
It is time for some Spring up in here!  Which is why my next dress is a navy and white stripe topped off with a pink polka dot.  Who doesn't love stripes and dots together???

I did not learn my lesson (or my brain had not quite regained normal thought patterns) and I used the same adjustments as I did the first time around.  I didn't bother to try to fix my baggy shoulders or slightly gapey neckline.  For shame.  My fabrics are a lighter knit by Riley Blake.

I love this!  And I can't believe I am about to admit this, but I am wearing "jeggings" from the junior department.  I blend in with my middle school students with my jeggings.  Ok, I still don't blend. 

I also managed to get my hair done between dress shots.  I am now a bit shorter and a bit blonder.  I am all ready for Spring!

No, I'm not taking a pit sniff here...I'm trying to show off my stripe matching!  I've never ever sewn with stripes before and just look at that...perfection! 

I've also never done a contrasting top before and I think the pink on my sleeves is a bit too long.  I had no idea how to measure it so I guessed.  Again, too lazy to really think hard about it.  And here you can really see the extra fabric around the shoulder.  But you can also see how well the fabric combo works.  I'm pretending that the patterns and colors distract you from the extra wrinkles.

There will definitely be more Coco's in my life.  A pattern this easy AND this fabulous deserves a few more makes.

A few construction notes:  I don't own a serger so all of this was done on my trusty Opal 650.  I used a lightning bolt stitch for most of it.  I also used elastic in the shoulders instead of the stay tape mentioned in the directions just because that is what I had on hand.  Not only did I grade up a bit, but I also added about three inches in length.  For my first dress, that extra length forms the chocolate band.  The directions are super easy and if you are new to knits, this would be a great start!

Little White Laurel

Posted by Kristin on Sunday, February 16, 2014.

I'm a sucker for contests. I especially love to enter sewing contests. Granted, I've never won, but I just keep entering! And because I am such a procrastinator, I typically don't get my entry in until the last 30 minutes. This contest was no different...

This contest was the "Little White Dress" on PatternReview.com. The rules stipulated an all white (or off-white dress) styled for both day and night. Other colors could be used in the accessories, but not the fabric. I signed up at the end of January, bought my fabric at the beginning of February, and didn't start sewing until the day before the contest ended.

This time I had a reason for procrastinating...I was scared. I've managed to screw up my last three projects and this one required a large dose of creativity, not just following a pattern. I was afraid I'd have a mess of white fabric that would go back into a storage box.

My inspiration dress was an Anna Sui lace dress that retails for around $400 (and doesn't come in my size - surprise!).

From Atlantic-Pacific
From Atlantic Pacific
The silhouette of this dress immediately reminded me of the Colette Laurel, a simple shift dress that is super easy to whip up.

Colette Laurel
I had already made one Laurel, and I knew that it fit well and I had already made any pattern adjustments.

Remember me?
Since I had never worked with eyelet, or lace, or piecing with different fabrics, this project required a lot of thought. Lots and lots of thought. Two weeks worth to be exact. Or two weeks of paralyzing fear that I would screw it up.

From the original pattern, I took out the back zip since my first Laurel slips right over my head without unzipping. I adjusted my back pattern piece to be cut on the fold so it would be one piece, not two. I needed to eliminate the back center seam since I had chucked the zipper. Next, I cut each pattern piece into three horizontal blocks and added in seam allowances. I have to admit that I was quite shocked that my horizontal seams from the front and the back matched up perfectly. Granted, I had measured and was very precise in my new pattern pieces, but I'm always shocked when I do something right!

Once I had my front and back pieced together with the three different blocks of eyelet, I hand basted them to the solid cotton underlining.  The underlining not only covered up see through holes in the eyelet and lace, but it also stabilized my pieces so that I could work with them.  I debated between lining (where the eyelet and lining would hang separately from each other) and underlining (where the lining and outer fabric are stitched together and used as one piece of fabric). I wanted to just line it so I could have the lining shorter and the bottom layer of lace would be a little sheer.  But I really needed to stabilize the fabrics, the daisy lace tore extremely easily and was difficult to work with on its own.

The next step was to sew my darts and then I could hand stitch the eyelet trim over the seams between the lace and eyelet blocks. I was originally following the original inspiration dress but I realized that the trim was not only pretty, but it also covered my seam allowances where I pieced the fabrics together. The eyelet trim was only stitched to the outer layer, I didn't go through to the underlining because I didn't want the stitching to show on the inside.

Just look at that! I have never, and I mean never, been able to match seams up at the side. And I managed to match up the eyelet trim in four spots - perfectly! I'm not bragging, I'm just surprised at myself!

I left the sleeves sheer. That was fun. Not really. I opted not to do the ruffle at the bottom of the sleeve like the inspiration dress because I wear a jacket or sweater over EVERYTHING. Even in summer. I didn't want the pretty ruffle to end up all bunchy in a jacket sleeve. I did a french seam in the sleeves to give the seams a finished look since they are so sheer.  I also had to hand stitch my seam allowances to the underlining so they stayed inside the dress instead of poking out and waving to the world through the sleeve.

Here are my finished dress pics!  I had hoped to have someone else take pretty pics of me outside but 1. I procrastinated and there wasn't anyone available at 11 pm, 2. We got 21 inches of snow the other day, and 3. It's cold.  So you get my usual sloppy indoor shots.  But you also get a bonus pic of Max snoozing behind me because he was ready for bed.

 I had lost my sewing mojo there for a while and I felt like everything I tried didn't quite work. My New Year's Eve tulle skirt was just a big fat NO, my Lola sweatshirt dress doesn't fit right, and my Schoolhouse Tunic that I just finished will never see the light of day again.  I was actually close to quitting there for a while (I also tend to be overly dramatic). But this dress makes me feel like I can do stuff worth wearing again. I'm proud of the fact that I was able to customize the original Laurel pattern in order to create this on my own with no instructions. Still not bragging, but instead looking back to see how far my sewing skills have grown since I made my first garment a year ago.

I still don't think I will win the contest, there are 40 other fabulous entries. That's ok, I'm just happy I had something worth entering.  On to my next project...A DOCTOR WHO SKIRT!!! (or a purple coat for spring that was supposed to be done for this past fall)

Totally Geek-tastic fabric on Spoonflower

My new toy: the Viking Opal 650

Posted by Kristin on Thursday, January 30, 2014.

As most of you know my old WalMart Brother sewing machine was getting quite fussy with its tension settings.  I also think the timing was off.  No matter how new my needle, how good my thread, or how many times I adjusted the tension, it created bird's nests underneath.  It took me forever to sew a simple straight seam on a simple cotton...sew, bunch, rip out, and repeat.  Over and over.  There was screaming.  There were tears.  There was petting and giving it pep talks.  Nothing worked.  I even sent it out to be cleaned and tuned up.  But it was evidently possessed by the devil of all things sewing and refused to work right. 

When I was given the simple task of sewing five three piece hula costumes for my Hawaiian hula class's recital (and one skirt was five yards of fabric...with three ruffles...that equals 20 yards of hemming I was doing per skirt...plus the additional 15 yards of stitching to attach the ruffles.  Multiply that by five skirts and you get miles and miles and miles of sewing) I decided that I needed to upgrade.  Immediately.

I had narrowed my search to three models, the Janome Magnolia (the cheapest), the Viking Opal 650 (the mid range), and the BabyLock Elizabeth (the most expensive).  I briefly considered the Brother CS6000i, a very affordable and popular computerized machine.  My aunt had one and loved it.  But I was leery of another Brother (by another mother...sorry...couldn't resist!). 

The local store that worked on my old Brother sold Janomes and Berninas.  I knew I wanted computerized and something that would not require a second mortgage on the house.  That left me with the Janome Magnolia.  Plus it had pretty flowers on it!  But I wanted a few more features than it provided so I marked it off the list.

I used the BabyLock Elizabeth during my studio classes and Pins & Needles in Raleigh and loved it!  But I just couldn't justify the cost.  In addition, my nearest dealer was over 45 minutes away.  So it was marked off as well.

Which left me with the Viking Opal 650.  It had all of the features I wanted and it was affordable.  It doesn't have a thread cutter, which would have been nice.  Or automatic tension control.  But it has more stitches than I know what to do with, a lovely computerized screen, fantastic lighting, and pretty turquoise markings.  So it matches my sewing room (priorities, right?). 

Here is my little beauty!


The Opal 650 and 670 both have the "Sewing Advisor".  I just select my fabric type, and it tells me what type of needle and foot I need as well as the recommended stitch with the stitch length and width.  I don't have to follow that, but it is a nice starting point.  If I select a different stitch, it automatically adjusts the width and length for my type of fabric.  Again, I can still adjust those, but it is a good guideline.  I kept glancing at the screen thinking it had a clock.  It doesn't.  Husqvarna-Viking, add a clock!!!

I believe the 670 has a stylus to use and is a touch screen.  The 650 does not.  But since I am upgrading from a model with three turn dials, I don't feel like I am missing out on anything!

The 670 also has a low bobbin warning.  The 650 is lacking that feature but the drop in bobbin cover is transparent, so I can see when it is getting low.  All Viking machines take Viking bobbins and JoAnn's had one pack for $15.00.  Right now I'm just using the 5 my machine came with instead of buying more.  I kind of miss having a bobbin already wound for my most used thread colors, but somehow I am surviving.  On the bright side, the bobbin can only go in with the "H" symbol on the top, so there is no inserting it wrong while in a hurry and making a mess.  Also?  You can wind your bobbin while keeping the machine threaded!  Not that threading a machine takes more than 30 seconds, but it feels like such a time saver.

I love how the top flips up to reveal the thread spool and stitch selections.  Makes me feel like I have a convertible.  Ok, maybe that's a stretch.  I still think it looks cool.

More funness - I can adjust my needle up or down with a button.  That way when I stop in the middle of a line of stitching to readjust something, I can have the needle automatically stop in the down position.  And it has a "fix" button.  As much as I wish that was a magic button to "fix" my mistakes, it still does something cool...it tacks the thread for you without having to backstitch at the beginning or end of a line.  I thought I would never use the "stop/start" button because I felt uncomfortable letting go of the control the foot pedal gives me.  But when you are hemming five 5 yard skirts with three ruffles each that also need hemming?  That button is a blessing!  And at the highest speed the fabric flies through it!  I wouldn't use it for things that aren't perfectly straight for miles on end.  It is kinda like cruise control on the car...great for the interstate but not for back mountain roads.

 See those little lights by the needle assembly?  Love!

So far, I have put this little machine through a workout.  I mentioned the hula costumes...

These were our Tahitian costumes.  All I had to do here was a plain rectangle pareo.  Easy peasy.  Oh, and I am third from the left in the back.  Our fabulous instructor is in the middle in the black (yay Maka!). 

These were our Hawaiian costumes.  Although you can't see me, you can see the tops and the skirts.  These are pa'u skirts which is Hawaiian for "pull your hair out oh my god this is so much fabric" skirts.  I seriously almost had a nervous breakdown.  The other lady helping with costumes had to do all of the rest...so  I can't really complain about my five. 

My machine sailed through these without even a hiccup. And this is where that handy dandy bobbin winding without unthreading came in handy as I went through spools of red thread.

I also made a couple of toddler boys some dinosaur capes as Christmas gifts.  These are made out of fleece and fully lined.  Since I only have dogs, a cat, and a fish, I got Max to model these for you.  He was ecstatic as you can tell.  Bailey was smart and refused to sit still, so she got out of modeling duty.

Any machine that can go through two thick fleece layers of spikes AND two layers of green cape all at the same time gets an A+ in my book.  At first I was a little worried these capes would be too hot because the fleece was so thick.  Then the Earth flipped on its axis and Virginia ended up at the North Pole.  The weight of these was fine. 

I don't have a serger, but I love the coverstitch options on my Opal.  It worked perfectly for my Lola dress

I don't have many negatives except for the clock feature (I can't think of many machines that do have a clock...actually none.  Still want it though.) and it is LOUD!  Although I had played with it in the store, I suppose the store was loud enough that I didn't notice how loud the machine was.  Not a deal breaker, but was hoping for more of a happy hum as it worked, not a full out song. 

Overall, I am extremely happy with my purchase.  I also like that I have a dealer here in town and if anything does go wrong, I can get a loaner machine while mine is being serviced.  I realize choosing a sewing machine is an extremely personal decision and you need to take a few out for test drives before making a decision.  So I'm not saying "YOU MUST BUY THIS ONE!".  But if you do, you won't be disappointed.

Victory! With the Lola (but not much else)

Posted by Kristin on Tuesday, January 28, 2014.

My best friend asked me the other day why I wasn't updating my blog.  I could have lied and used the typical "I'm busy" excuse.  But I didn't and I won't to you either.

Honestly?  I haven't wanted to write. 

Another friend asked my how I liked my new sewing machine.  Again with the honesty...

I haven't wanted to sew.

I wish I knew why.  I wish I knew I hadn't felt any inspiration.  I wish I knew why I was feeling some massive negative body image right now.  I wish I knew why I was already stressing over my 40th birthday (which isn't for a few more months).  I wish I knew why all I want to do is sit on the couch and watch "Doctor Who" and "Sherlock".  Wait, I do know that...they are both amazingly good British tv!

I am not a winter person.  I am a warm air and ocean breeze kind of girl. 

Why don't I move to Florida?  Crocodiles.  And alligators.  And anything that can eat me or my wild animal menagerie I tend to avoid.  Oh, and sinkholes.  I'm scared of those too.  So I stay here in the mountains of Virginia and try survive this massively cold winter.  And frozen pipes.  And missed school days.  And all I do is watch men with British accents.

I have a bad case of the winter blues.  If I cared enough I could write a song!

Before I sunk into my anxiety ridden winter negativity, I made a dress.  Again, I totally ripped off Lauren's version.  Again, I was totally inspired by Lauren's version.

Lladybird Lauren's Lola (say that three times fast)
I had previously avoided Victory Pattern's Lola because of the line drawings.  I imagined looking like a large fleece covered basketball.

Victory Pattern's Lola
Once I saw Lauren's dress I decided to give it a try.  I left off the bottom band and instead just did a basic hem.  I also left off the parachute sized pockets.  Don't get me wrong, I love me some big pockets.  But I knew that with pockets of this size I would be cramming them full of all kinds of unnecessary crap, which would not be an attractive look.  I also used an old sweater for the neckline and arm bands (just like Lauren!). 

I had to doctor the pattern for sizing as well.  The largest measurements for the top fit me but the lower half did not.  Since the seam placement was super important, I had to be careful with how I graded it up.  I had to add a total of 4 inches (that's right - FOUR!) in order to get it to fit over my hips.  I added a half an inch to each front and back seam just below the waist.  That way I would get the space I needed and still have my seams match.  Now the bottom fits perfectly.  The top?  Not so much...I have too much fabric in the lower back and at my high bust.  I took some in after putting it together but I think I actually needed to do some pattern alterations, not just dress alterations.  And my neckline is hideous.  My old sweater had lost all stretch and my neckline is too loose which makes it stand straight up in the back.  I try to wear this dress with a scarf to cover all my imperfections.

Oh, and I got my hair cut. 

I have never done a sway back pattern adjustment, and I should have given it a try on this pattern.  The more I look at myself in this dress the less I like it.  I don't know if there really is something to not like or if my winter blahness is taking over.  It is comfortable though.  How can a dress length sweatshirt NOT be comfortable???

On the bright side, I made these super cute boot cuffs to go with it!  I am in a local knitting group called Sip & Knit.  Twice a month a bunch of women get together to knit and drink wine...life can't get any better than that, can it?  I got this yarn at our Christmas Dirty Santa and it was just too wooly scratchy to have next to my skin.  And I couldn't think of anything else to do with one skein of yarn so it became boot cuffs!

They are basic stockinette edged with a rib.  They can be worked on circular needles or seamed.  I opted to seam them because I don't have circular needles yet and wanted to start on these IMMEDIATELY.  During a sort of snow event.  So I went with what I had.  I also wanted a simple pattern since I was using a two color yarn.  According to Ravelry, these should have taken me about two hours.  Which in slow-Kristin-knit time is about two weeks.  I'm still working on my sister's Christmas 2013 cowl.  I'll have it done in time for summer.  Hopefully.  Don't worry, Susan...school is closed tomorrow due to an inch of snow...and I'll work all day on it (in between constantly checking my kitchen sink for freezing pipes...and watching last Sunday's Sherlock and a few more Doctor Who episodes).

I'm sorry if I'm a little down on myself in this post.  My mood will turn around...probably sometime in mid-April.  Or after my 40th in May.  Then I'll be ok.  And I forced myself to do some future sewing planning.  Look out Schoolhouse Tunic...you are next!  I'm also thinking of making a hand-stamped scarf in a light spring weight fabric.  I'll also do a for real review of my new baby, my Viking Opal 650 sewing machine.

In the meantime, here is a pic of Max trying to convince me to pet him instead of write...