Sunday, July 18, 2010

Summer of Loooove: Brian and Jenny Get Hitched

You remember my friends Brian

and Jenny?

Well they just tied the knot and they had the good sense to do so at Lake Powell. At least I think going to Lake Powell was a good idea cause it meant I got to take a mini vacation.

Plus the wedding was absolutely BEEEEEAU-TI-FUL!

The ceremony took place on this bluff which is kinda on the smallish side so that meant the wedding was small. About 30 people were there. But you know what the advantage of having a small wedding is? All the guest knew I was the creator of THE DRESS.

And being the creator of THE DRESS is pretty amazing except for that fact that starting about 20 minutes before the unveiling of THE DRESS I started to get really nervous. I don’t know why. Perhaps I was terrified everyone would hate it or that it would slowly fall apart as Jenny walked down the isle and she would be naked by the time she made it to the alter.

But then Jenny appeared and she was stunning and THE DRESS made it through the entire evening without falling apart. Not even once. Not even close. Which is not surprising cause I’m kinda a stickler about the whole quality thing.

Despite being on the smallish side the bluff was just big enough for the whole wedding party to fit and they look good with the Lake Powell background.

Here they are doing the whole ring exchange thing.

That weird guy behind them is Nate. Nate is Brian’s best buddy and he got online and sent the state of NM $16 and now he’s a priest so he married Brian and Jenny. Cause he’s that kind of good guy. He says he’s available for “marrings and burrings” so if you are in the market for a priest look him up. I promise it’ll be an event you’ll never forget.

And this is Garrett/ younger brother of Brian. He was the best man. You can tell cause of the badge I made him.

Correction:  I got the Mama Hart to make the badge cause I don't like messing with the embrodery softwear.

 Have you ever seen the movie You, Me and Dupree? Well in the movie Dupree has a best man badge and that’s where I got the idea. Actually, it’s where Garrett got the idea from and I’m just here to provide sewing services to anyone in need.  Or to designate projects to the Mama Hart.

Well enough about the wedding. Lets get to the good stuff.
Such as THE DRESS.

Here’s Jenny in the dress. What a beauty.

The front has a slight cowl which drapes beautifully in the silk jersey she selected.

Mama Jenny does something with the jewelry wholesale business so she had the brilliant idea to use white gold chain as the back drapeness. How clever. I really liked how the chain had movement.

You can kind of see it moving here as Jenny dances.

And then I used some more of the chain to make the belt buckle. Cause I’m resourceful like that.

And here I am in the dress I made, with the bride in THE DRESS I made. There’s so much Hart in this picture. LOVE IT.

Well after the wedding I decided to hang out at the lake a bit so I invited myself to the houseboat Brian’s family rented. I also played on this:

their red speedy motor boat thingy. Which is a fun toy to have cause then you get to go wake-boarding.

And then I got to witness first hand what happens when you combine a bunch of twenty something males, a lake, a sandy hill, a plastic tarp, a water pump and lots and lots of dish soap.

Do you want to know?

Are you sure?

Do you think you can handle it?

Ok, you asked for it.

I’m gona show you.

So this is your last chance to back out.

Well first they make a huge slide.

One with a giant jump at the bottom.

And do you think they worried about making sure the water was deep enough?


Picture this scenario:

Melisa: “Um, are you sure the water’s deep enough?”

Boy Erin: “Sure it is. It’s up to my waist here.”

Melisa: “Yeah but your like 5 feet out. It’s kind of shallow closer to shore.”

Boy Erin: “That’s why we put the jump in the slide. So it’ll fling us out to where it’s deep enough.”

Melisa: “And you think that jump is going to fling you far enough?”

Boy Erin: “You worry too much.”

But I guess they were right cause no one ended up in the ER.

And then cause the slide wasn’t fast enough on its own, they had to smear dish soap all over their bodies.

And then I had to come home and work so I could have my next wedding dress finished in time.

~Happy Lake Powelling
Melisa & Cordelia

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Summer of Loooove: Self Indulgences

It’s official. This is my summer of Looove. Except I have no looover, I just get to help everyone else celebrate their Loooove as I hop from one wedding to the next. It’s been a blast, especially cause I get to make (most of) the dresses. It’s official, I love making wedding dresses. Big surprise there.

Meet Brian and Jenny.

“Hello Brian and Jenny” says Cordelia.

“Hello Cordelia” says Brian and Jenny.

I met Brian back when I was 3 or so when he moved into the house next door. We’ve been buddies ever since and he’s like the brother I never had. Except for the fact I have a brother. A very good brother. Minor Detail I shall choose to ignore at the moment.

Brian and Jenny are the first of my friends to get hitched this summer and I’m really excited for their wedding cause A. I made Jenny’s dress and this will be the first time I see a bride in one of my dresses and 2. it’s gona be at Lake Powell. And some of the wedding crew are getting a house boat that I get to crash on. Fun!!

Naturally I have to have something fantastic to wear to the wedding. And well the knit dress I recently made wouldn’t do because I “borrowed” the design from Jenny’s wedding dress and it just didn’t seam appropriate to show up to her wedding in a similarish dress. So I made myself a new sundress.

Lately I’ve been on this whole use up my stash kick, so the first place I went shopping for fabric was my Fabric Log Book and I found this swatch and I knew it was destiny.

I pulled the embroidered and beaded fabric out and let it speak to me, and within minutes I had a design all mapped out.

Then I took a day to sew for myself, and ended up with this little lovely creation.

Which has a ruched bodice.

And I made a flower to go with it cause it was the right thing to do.

And I lined it with polka-dots cause that’s what I had.

And O-LaLa. Bonita.

I am so fortunate I can just whip up a new dress every time I want to go somewhere. What luck I picked such a convenient skill to master as a child.

Cordelia loved this one too. She didn’t want to take it off. I had to bribe her with chocolate so she would give it back. She thinks she’s gona wear it to the wedding, but Shhh don’t tell her she’s not invited. I haven’t broken the news to her yet and things are likely to get messy when she finds out.

Happy Self Indulging
~Melisa & Cordelia

Friday, July 16, 2010

The California Files: Adventures at Britex

Meet Britex Fabrics

“Hello Britex” says Cordelia.

“Helly Cordelia” says Britex.


Britex Fabrics may be my favorite spot on earth. Well maybe not my favorite, but one of my top 50 favorites. Why? Cause Britex is home to 4 floors of fabric wounderfulness. If you are a fabric junkie, it’s pure bliss.

So, as soon as I got to San Francisco I had to run, not walk, to the store. I couldn’t control myself. I have little will power.

Poor Cordelia, she’s green with envy.

Well I got to the store and I meandered through the first floor which is all wools and silks.

And then I made my way to the second floor which is cottons.

And I spent a fair amount of time on the 3rd floor which is buttons and trims.

But then I made it to the 4th floor and this is where the fun really got started. The 4th floor of Britex Fabrics is reserved for the remnants and sale fabrics. Now usually remnant fabrics are the last few inches left on the bolt that no one wants so the fabric store has to wrap them up and make them look appealing to trick you into buying them. But not at Britex. At Britex the remnants are cut in nice long lengths usually around 21/2- 3 yards. And they are beautiful. And come in every variety of fabric imaginable. And the best part? The are marked down!! So I went a bit crazy.

First I picked up this amazing white wool from Italy.

I LOVE the weave of it. It has texture and color while still being simple.

 I’m itching to make a winter coat out of this. With a dramatic collar. Ohh, it’s gona be a beaut.

Then I found this silk jersey and I just about died for the print. It’s so dainty and cute, yet not too cutsey.

I already have plans for a drapey, wrappie, summer dress. Perhaps to wear to one of my upcoming weddings?

And then I found this Italian cotton. I have one thing to say about those Italians, they sure know how to make some fabulous fabric.

I wish you could feel it. It’s so smooth, like butta. Mmmm. This is gona make a great little Cocktail bombshell dress.

The 4th floor of Britex is also home to the sweetest, cutest lady. She use to work in the fashion industry, but gave it up to work at Britex cause she likes her bosses at Britex better. She also claimed to be the creator of the Palazzo Pant. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I’m gona roll with it. It’s more fun this way.

Point is Britex is awesome and you should go.

But California was not all about fabric shopping.

For one thing I got to watch The Brother Hart defend his thesis.

And then I got to help him celebrate passing the defense of his thesis.

These celebrations are best done while wearing a silly hat.

And then I watched him graduate.

And cause the Future Sister-In-Law Hart works for Tesla motors I got to ride in this car.

 Which is sooooooo cool. It goes really fast super quick. And is really quiet so it sneaks up on you. Even though it’s orange. Really orange.

But now I’m back home and it’s back to work for me and Cordelia. Well at least until we get to take off for the first wedding in Lake Powell!!!!

Happy Fabric Stash Building
~Melisa & Cordelia

Friday, July 2, 2010

What A Smock

So you remember this little smocked sundress?

You know the one that matches this adult sundress?

Which kind of matches this blouse?

Which matches a chair?

Well anyways the sundress is so tremendously cute.

And it’s so amazingly easy to make that I just had to share it with the world.

So I taught a class on how to make it.

Which is why they call me:




Professor Smockinator DUN Dun dun. 

Actually that's only true if I include myself in the "they" category.

But enough about me, back to my class.

I had AMAZING students.

And we had tuns of fun.

And by the end of the day they had made dresses like this:

To, to, to to cute. You can’t tell from here, but she twisted some pink and green rick rack and it was so fantastically cute! I must “borrow” that idea!

And Cheryl made these two little dresses.


And then I saw Cheryl a few days later and she had made all of these!




What a lucky little grand daughter she has!


Please enjoy a moment as I attempt to demonstrate how to make the smocked sundress.

First you will need a few measurements:

The child’s chest,
And From Chest to Hem.

Cut some 45” wide fabric the length of the dress plus ½” for the hem and ½” to finish the top of the dress. For this dress I am adding a contrasting band so I cut the fabric a little shorter. But don’t forget to account for the whole seam allowance thing.

Then I finish the top edge. In this case I surged the edge and turned it under.

Then I turned it under again:

And I edge stitched it in place.

Now I grab my elastic thread and I wind it onto a bobbin.

 The directions on the elastic thread package tell me to wind the bobbin by hand, but I ignore that. I just skip wrapping the thread around the tension bar thingy (instead I hold it by hand) to prevent the elastic from stretching too much.

Next, sew several rows of stitching with the elastic in the bobbin.

Space the rows approximately ½ to 5/8” apart to create a smocked effect. Don’t forget to pull the fabric straight as you sew or you will sew in tucks and the dress won’t stretch. And you need it to streeeeeeeetch or you’ll never get it on your cute little precious angle. I usually smock about 1/3 the length of the dress.

Generously squirt the elastic with water to relax it.

 Go ahead and soak it Baby!
Now watch it shrink! This is the best part!

Cut the width of the fabric. I use my rotary cutter cause it’s the right thing to do.

Just make sure you don't accidentally cut your Netflix which gets stored on your cutting table for some reason.

You should cut it so the width is 1½”SHORTER than the child’s chest measurement when relaxed. Trust me. If you don’t the dress will fall right off and you’ll have to wait till next summer for your darling to strut the cuteness.

Go ahead and sew up the back seam.

I like to use a ½” seam allowance but you can use whatever you want. This is also a good place to use your surger if you have it.

Then I add my band.

 First I cut it the same width as the hem of the dress fabric and twice as long as I want the finished band to be. Again don't forget about those seam allowance thingies.

Then I sew the short ends together.

And press them open.

Fold the band in half lengthwise, with the WRONG sides together.

Pin it to the dress with right sides together.

Sew this to the dress. I used my surger again.

Press the band down.

To make straps I just cut 4 lengths of rick rack.
The seam becomes center back. Measure 1 ½” to 2” away from center back on both sides to find the back strap placement.

Measure the same distance from center front to find the front strap placement.

Sew these in place.

 Tie the straps up to have cute little bows at the shoulders!

And Voala!

 Cute little sundress.
Easy Peasy.
 Go make your favorite little darling one.

Happy Smocking
~Melisa and Cordelia