Tuesday, April 04, 2017

The Hip Bohemian Overall [Dungaree] Dress

This "overhalls" (as my late German farmer grandpa would have said) dress has been a long time coming! We bought this Oshkosh B'Gosh Dungaree dress at a Goodwill in 2013. 

You can see most of the dress as it was originally in the collage below. (McClellan Singing Sisters were performing for a "Hillbilly Jamboree - otherwise, we don't typically dress that way to sing!)

One day I was really inspired by some of the light washed denim items I'd seen and wanted to bring this dress out of its farmer-ness. I prepared a Rubbermaid storage tub with water and bleach and put it in to soak and made two big mistakes.

#1. I didn't realize I was using concentrated bleach instead of the cheap stuff.

#2. I left it in the tub for WAY too long.

You may say a third mistake was bleaching it at all, and perhaps you would be correct.

The large amount of concentrated bleach had broken down the fabric and caused several of the metal buttons/clasps to rust. It also hadn't bleached evenly and instead of a light-washed denim overall dress to pair with a grungy t-shirt and sneakers, I had this.

It had several rust spots on the back side which I attempted to disguise using fabric paint (a poor choice). To add insult to injury, I was impatient! Instead of waiting until I had another color on hand, I painted bright red geometric triangles. ...and instantly hated it.

I tried finding appliques or other paint ideas but nothing could salvage this mess. Several times I made up my mind to throw it away or re-donate it but Jewel stopped me. I'd all but given up hope of ever making this more than just a painful learning experience until this past Sunday.

I stopped by JoAnn's after church to buy extra-thick black belt elastic (for a project coming soon) and on my way to the checkout counter I saw these new iron-on appliques that were perfect. They were $6.99 each for a package of 3, but I had two 50% off any one item coupons so I basically got a package free!

With some very careful arranging, I was able to cover up each of the red eyesores on the back and the main rust spot on the front. And while applique on the front did its job, it looked a bit lonely and out of place... which gave me another idea.

My boyfriend's family recently made a trip to San Antonio and brought me back a few gifts. One was this cute little coin purse.

I decided it would made a very cute pocket applique to help pull the front together. Sewing through two layers of (thinner) denim and the elaborate embroidery wasn't easy but it came together slowly.

The headband is from Nicaragua, gifted to me by my brother-in-law's family. The tiny-people-dancing brooch is from Peru, given to me by my dear friend Hannah who lives as a missionary in Iquitos.

It needed one final touch so I went through our stash of lace and trims and found a 1970's bright red polyester floral trim originally from our Grandmother's stash to add to the hemline. 

I am so happy with how this DIY project FINALLY came out! While Jewel walked me through using her sewing machine again, I did all the actually cutting and sewing myself! (Which is why it doesn't look as perfect :) but that's okay. It fits with the quirky, hippie feel I ended up with!) 

I purchased the woven leather shoes in Nicaragua in 2015 - US size 8.5 is hard to find in Nicaraguan artisan shops!

The colorful Mexican purse was another souvenir from my boyfriend's Texas trip.

Cost Breakdown (not including bleach or thread)
Thrifted Dungaree Dress: USD $3.99
Iron-on appliques: USD $13.98
Red floral trim: free!
Embroidered coin purse-turned-applique: also free!

Total spent out of pocket: USD $17.97

Monday, April 03, 2017

My Clueless Dress?? [McCall's 6745]

Kimberly titled this dress the "Clueless Dress" because appearently there's a show (or movie?) called Clueless and the lady wears a yellow plaid dress?? I don't know but it's better then "The Yellow Plaid Dress". So? What am I going to say? haha

If you remember I talked about this dress way back in January in episode 7 of Sewing Desk Sit-Down. (Watch it HERE) It's been almost four months in the making but it's finally finished! 
For some reason once I reached inserting the zipper I didn't touch it until this past weekend...but the zipper is in, the lining sewn down and the hem finished so the dress is complete and wearable!

This is my second rendition of McCall's 6745 the first being the Spring Halt(er) Top Dress I sewed back in 2015! I think I'll get more use out of this version due to it not being a halter top...People look at you weird if you go out in the winter in a halter top... ;) Although, I do wear my white denim jacket which turns their judging eyes away. lol

One of my favorite design elements of this pattern is the pleated skirt. I love the shape, I love the fullness, I love the length and I love that it uses SIX yards of fabric! Yes VI, or S-I-X or 6 yards of fabric! Four and a half of that is in the skirt alone leaving the other foot and a half to the bodice and bodice lining. It will definitely help with my fabric stashbusting numbers this month!

-'- Jewel

  • PATTERN: McCall's 6745 (PURCHASED January OF 2014)
  • FABRIC: black fabric for bodice - Grandmother's Stash 
  • Yellow Plaid Fabric thrifted from Goodwill for $3.99 Purchased february 2016 

Sunday, April 02, 2017

March Stashbusting & Pattern 'N' Fabric Fast Round-Up

Wow! Another month is over and stuff has been happening here at home base!

Fabric sewn:
3 yards of flannel for pajama pants for TaMera (not blogged)
1 5/8 yards gray/blue chambray for Tania culottes

1 yard-ish of dark navy twill.

I was thrifting at Goodwill in Texas and found the twill for $1.99 but the tag was red! (Tag color of the day) Ninety-nine cents for suitable fabric for shorts to practice on? Yes, please! With everything else stashbusting I've been a very good girl, though. ;)

This month 1 yard of fabric in and 4 5/8 yards out! 

All fabric purchased in 2017: 6 yards
All fabric sewn in 2017: 20 3/8 yards

Total fabric stashbusted: 14 3/8 yards! Yes, getting there!

Pattern Fast:

I purchased a single pattern this month...I couldn't not purchase the brand new Flint pattern from Megan Neilsen patterns! Love it so much and I talk about it here in my Sewing Desk Sit-Down video. Be expecting to see my version in May!

But...I also de-stashed 28 patterns this month! Some as far away as Sweden! I "sold" them for shipping in the We Sew Retro Buy, Sell & Trade group. I really look at it as giving them away since I didn't want to make money but understandably I also didn't want to lose any money with the shipping cost.

I'm going to keep trying to think of different ways to get through the pattern stash and get it under control.

For April, I'm already off to a great start as I finished a dress yesterday and it's only the second! :D
-'- Jewel

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Mini Tania Culottes [Megan Nielsen Patterns]

I'm excited to share with you another new project!
It actually feels weird to be sharing a new project with you already. This year my sewing has been going sooooo slow. Slow enough that is seems I hardly finish a garment a month...
I really wish it wasn't "sew". ;)
 Enough of all this sad talk...let's talk culottes!

Culottes are...

They are shorts but yet they are a skirt...but they aren't. (Like I said weird)

...one of those things you don't know you're missing out on until you get one.
To me culottes are this amazing invention. 
When you want to wear a skirt but with the practicality of shorts/pants they are the option.

...destined to become a favorite.
When I was younger, one of my favorite outfits was this pair of dark brown culottes that had super wide legs which gave the look of a maxi skirt. I chose to wear them ALL the time! Could this happen with the Tanias as well?? 

 / Lace Top: American Eagle (Brand new secondhand from Plato's Closet) / Pink cami: Jockey P2P (Seasons ago) / Catch-All Sling Bag: Knitted by TaMera / Shoes: Payless Shoe Source (2014) \

I'm rather impressed with the Tania pattern! I thought it was going to be a long sew (not complicated just timely) but I was able to sew them up in a weekend! 
Next time, I'm going to try the midi or maxi length...although I can totally see myself sewing up another pair of mini's for Summer first. lol
-'- Jewel

  • Stashbusting Sewist Secrets:
  • Pattern: Tania Culottes by Megan Nielsen Patterns - Mini Length (Purchased fall of 2016)
  • Fabric: Gray/Blueish Chambray - Gifted from my cousin-in-law last summer
  • Notions: Invisible Zipper & Thread - JoAnn's Fabric & Crafts
  • Rating: Success! 
  • Fabric stashbusted on project: 1 5/8 yards
  • Fabric stashbusted since January 1st 2017: 11 3/8 yards

Sunday, March 05, 2017

Aztec Reversible Skirt {Vintage Simplicity 7779...sort of}

I cut this project out on January 1st and it is officially finished!

Originally it was just going to take a weekend to sew up...that was before I decided to make it reversible...

Oh yes, the pattern is a basic A-line skirt with front and back darts, a center back zip, and seam.
But I couldn't decide which side of the fabric I wanted to be the "right side" for the public to see.

What does the crazy, overachiever person do?

Make a normal skirt [from a obvious leftover piece of vintage fabric, with no possibility of purchasing more if necessary] into a reversible skirt!

Side A (pictured above) has wooden buttons and pleats for waist shaping.

To make the pattern reversible, I turned the front into the back. 
I sewed the side seams at 3/8 of an inch and used the extra width for the button band.
 Then covered the side seam on Side B with satin ribbon.
In place of darts I made tiny, little pleats. (Next time I'll try something different; they look good on Side A but Side B they aren't my favorite look.)
Finally added a hem band for a clean finish and ...that's it!

Wow...writing it out makes it sound so much simpler than it actually was! 

Much of the time spent on the project was spent thinking over the ways to "hack" the pattern into a reversible skirt and working out the problems that doing so created. 

For example, I had to figure out in which order the steps needed to be sewed and they are as follows:
  1. Darts.
  2. Side Seams
  3. Tuxedo Stripes
  4. Button Band
  5. Waistband
  6. and finally the Hem Band.
This was to ensure the cleanest finish on both sides of the skirt.

Normally with a skirt, the seam allowance of the side seam just needs to be finished (to reduce raveling) because it will be hidden on the inside of the skirt. Making this skirt reversible meant the seams would be visible at times so I had to come up with a way to hide the seam allowance [wrong side of the side seam] that was visually interesting, aesthetically pleasing and also not take away from the garment.

Side B has basic gray buttons and a gray satin tuxedo stripe down the side seams.

The skirt is very versatile and can be dressed up (think business attire) or dressed down for a more casual feel just depending on the blouse and shoes you chose. 

The pattern is vintage 1968 Simplicity 7779.
The main fabric is from my Grandmother's stash and the waistband fabric was purchased at Calico House Fabrics specifically for this skirt.
The buttons are from JoAnn's.
I'm so excited that it came out exactly the way I was envisioning and hoped it would!

There are a ton of projects I'm planning, with some already in the works! I'm sure I'll be talking to you sooner than later! :)
-'- Jewel

Fabric used on this project: 1 3/4 yards
Fabric sewn in 2017: 15 3/4 yards

Wednesday, March 01, 2017

February Stashbusting & Pattern 'N' Fabric Fast Round-Up

February...February...oh why are you over already??

Sigh...I'm just going to go out, get it over with and say it.

I treated myself to fabric for Valentines Day...

I know, I know... I should feel bad but I don't.

Fabric purchased:
3 yards Pink Poodles Cotton Twill
2 yards Butterflies Cotton Chambray

Items sewn:
3 yards Simplicity 1419 Firework Cotton for Hannah (To be blogged as a collection)
3 yards Simplicity 1419 Blue Cotton for Hannah (To be blogged as a collection)
1 3/4 yards Vintage Simplicity 7776 (Not Yet Blogged...because I finished it at Midnight on the 31st! lol)

5 yards of fabric in and 7 3/4 yards out! 

All fabric purchased in 2017: 5 yards
All fabric sewn in 2017: 15 3/4 yards
Total fabric stashbusted: 10 3/4 yards! Whoo!!

Pattern Fast:


I have a dress that just needs the zipper and hem so I'm already off to a great start for March! haha 
-'- Jewel

Wednesday, February 01, 2017

January Stashbusting & Pattern 'N' Fabric Fast Round-Up

January is over and it is time to gather up the information of the past month and see how well I did!
If you've been following my blog for awhile you know I'm trying to sew through my stash of mostly gifted fabrics. My grandmother, grandma, and Mom gave me their stashes when I started sewing since they had all quit many years prior. So...it's a bit overwhelming.

This year's stashbusting goal is to sew through 100 yards of fabric!
All fabric purchases will be subtracted from the sewn amount so it's not just sewing 100 yards it's getting rid of 100 yards!

As another goal, I made a personal pledge for a pattern 'n' fabric fast. On November 12th 2016 with the follow sewists and stashbusters of Stashbusting Sew-A-Long as my witnesses I said:

  • "✋🏼 "I, Jewel McClellan. A dedicated sewist and lover of fabric and patterns. From this moment on will buy no more patterns and/or fabric until 2017. 
  • I will restrain from online window shopping and every time I get an urge to do so will sit in front of the fabric shelf or pile the baskets of patterns around myself to be overwhelmed until the said feeling passes."

After a successful month and (about) a half with great expectations I decided to extend it to June of 2017.

I'm confessing to you today...I have broke it. Not with fabric. No! But with a few patterns... I know...I know I said I wouldn't. :( 

I was in the car with (my sister) Tiffany, checking my email and there was a JoAnn's sale email...

I clicked to find when the patterns were going to be on sale. (Bad, bad choice Jewel!) 
Getting to her house I got on the computer and started browsing to see which ones I should get. Again...setting myself up for failure...

I only purchased a single pattern for myself. Simplicity 8248 a 1930s reproduction pattern. Since it came out I've been drooling over it and seeing so many different versions in my head! 
I've also been watching Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries an Australian show that's based in the 1920s (currently on USA Netflix) and love the fashion! 
From a production element, I love how they put Miss Fisher (the leading lady) in rich, true and bright colors as the rest of the cast are in browns and neutrals.

The deal breaker for me was finding this pin on Pinterest! How gorgeous is this dress?? The design elements of the pattern and dress are so very close! I'm pretty sure I can make it! 

I also wanted to get some patterns for TaMera. I know so much more about her personal style then before. Many of the patterns I've previously purchased for her she wouldn't wear. She may "like" them but that doesn't mean she'd like to "wear" them. Big difference. Finding your personal style could possible be the hardest thing about fashion. At least I think so!

Burda 6551
I chose this pattern because TaMera wears a lot of button-ups. (Not necessarily what I'd chose for her to wear but again this about HER style.)
Simplicity 8214
This is a cool little pattern! It's a jumpsuit and dress pattern that can be easily transformed into a coordinating outfit. With a jumpsuit pattern you don't have to worry about your shirt untucking and such.
Burda 6549
One of TaMera's favorite ready-to-wear (RTW) dresses is very similar to this style. I'll just have to raise the neckline for comfort's sake.

These three are for Tiffany and she chose them herself. Tiffany can still wear clothes that she wore 5-7 years ago. (Yes...don't we all wish we could say that!) She's just tried of her closet and for good reason too! She only buys three maybe four new garments a year so she has a reason to be. I hope to start bringing some more custom-made garments into her wardrobe these coming years.

My fabric stashbusting efforts on the other hand were much better. 

0 yards of fabric in and 8 yards out!

Items sewn:

2 Lissette Dress for Hannah (I'll be sharing all four in one blog post soon) - 6 yards
TaMera's Sweater for the Wardrobe Project - 2 yards 

I have a few un-finished projects I'm still working on so February's totals should be a little higher then January's! Here's to hoping anyway. ;)
-'- Jewel

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

TaMera's Wardrobe Builder / Month 1 / McCall's 6992

A couple of week ago I came across the Wardrobe Builder project and thought it would help me stay focused on getting TaMera some good pieces into her closet. Month one is coming to a close and I'm feeling good! ...basically because I finished the sweater. haha

The pattern is McCall's 6992 and both fabrics are from Grandmother's stash!

February is Shirts and Blouses...and I just...uhhh...broke my pattern fast with this great blouse pattern for TaMera! So you might be seeing next month! 

Fabric used on this project: 2 yards
Fabric used in 2017: 2 yards

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

2017 Wardrobe Builder

I've been trying to find something to help me keep sewing for my younger sister and I think I may have stumbled upon the perfect thing!

The #WardrobeBuilder

Which is a garment a month to get you (at least) 12 varying garments by next year.
January (for example) is a sweater, April; dresses and September; trousers! 

TaMera is in desperate need of some new clothes.
We actually tried to go shopping this weekend but everything she tried was met with "It just doesn't fit right." "See how it's gapping?"
Just one of the many examples of ready-to-wear clothes not welcoming unique shaped bodies. But sticking to what they think is "average".

So I'm going to try and do the Wardrobe Builder! Not for myself but for TaMera and I'm going to make her garments a priority. 

  • She's going to be over my Seasonal Sew Wardrobe:Deep Stash 

Because if I'm being truthful...I sew for myself a LOT and have plenty of clothes to wear. So if I don't make the deadline for SSW:DS that's okay! 
  • She's going above my stashbusting goals

As you know, I've been working on sewing only from the stash and am currently on a fabric and pattern buying fast. But if there's a fabric I need to make a certain garment for TaMera...I'm going to get it.

It's just time for me to get over my fear of FBAs, (Full Bust Adjustments) Sway-Back Adjustments,  slopping shoulders, full seat adjustments and the other "smaller in comparison" adjustments.
It's time for her to be comfortable and confident in the clothes she's wearing.
It's time she feels the way I feel when I step out of the house in an outfit I love, that fits and looks good on me!

2017 is the year of TaMera! It's time to get sewing!

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