Friday, March 22, 2013

Mints and Mercados

*I definitely started this post at, like, the end of January/beginning of February. So that's why I'm narrating about Christmas break-- it was still recent then*

    Whoa dear, where has the time gone?! Apparently I'm just as bad at keeping up with blogging as I am with diary-ing...whoops. I was supposed to keep a blog last semester for a class and that didn't fare much better than this one. We were supposed to be updating it multiple times a week, and I think mine got six posts in all. Once again, whoops.
     I should've known that this would happen. I mean, how could I think that bad at keeping a diary + moving 6 1/2 hours away and starting college would somehow equal a well-kept blog? I did manage to sew a little last semester; I just never found time/bothered to take pictures or write about them.
    But some major sewing zen hit me over Christmas break! Basically, I had nothing else to do haha. So boy do I have some projects to show you!

   This, in case you didn't know, is Ava from Victory Patterns. I don't remember how I learned of Victory Patterns, but I did, and they have some awesome looking patterns. And now I can testify to their awesomeness, because Ava is amazing.
   I'm just going to go ahead and be honest: Ava reminded me of Colette's Macaron, and that's what initially made me want it. I'd seen pictures of the Macaron all over the interwebs and loved it. Ava was cheaper than Macaron though, and came with more options; you can make it a blouse or two different lengths of dress, cap sleeves or sleeveless. It even has optional ruffles for the neckline or sleeves. 
     So I bought Ava as an end of semester present to myself, figuring I'd just spend my extra printer money to get the pattern from Adobe Acrobat into my hands. At my school, we get $20 in printing money automatically figured into our account; printing a page costs 7 cents I think. I had a ton of printing money left over at the end of the semester, so it seemed the perfect opportunity to print a pattern. Well. This sucker ate up all that extra printing money and then some. On top of that, the printer was being silly and printed on both sides of the paper without directing it to do so. So I couldn't put any of the pattern together at all, because I'd have the one page but then the sheet I was supposed to attach it to was printed on the back of it. Grrrrrr. I went home for break emptyhanded; the car was too full for my sewing supplies and machine so I didn't expect to get anything done over those 3 weeks.
     But fate smiled on me. I convinced my sister to print out a copy of the pattern at work. She works at a school so printing off 70 pages at once was no big deal. Bonus: while taping the pattern together I came across a single permission slip for a movie day or something (apparently the 2nd graders were going to watch a PG movie instead of a regular G one...what's the difference between the G and PG ratings anyway?) And I FINALLY got my mom to let me use her Bernia. She's super protective of it even though she doesn't use it regularly. When she told me how much it cost I understood why-- it might just be the poor college student in me, but four figures is waaay more than I'm going to spend on a sewing machine anytime soon. I got mine as a birthday present but still know it's a cheapie Walmart one, and that's fine with me because I don't need anything fancy. But anyway, I managed to use my mom's machine all break without breaking it (BREAK; BREAKing it--so punny!), so yay for small victories! And I actually kind of like my crappy little Brother better, honestly. All break I couldn't get the Bernia's bobbin winder to cooperate with me; when I did get it to work the setup wasn't exactly the way the manual or my mom showed me to do it, but the bobbin was wound, and that was good enough for me! I'll give it this though: that Bernia is a quiet gently purring cat compared to my obnoxious constantly barking yappie dog of a sewing machine.
  Ok, enough backstory. Here are my Avas.
This is the first one I made. I hated it when I first tried it on. I was soooo disappointed because I worked really hard on the thing and even matched the zigzags at the side seams. And I finished the seams; nothing fancy, just a zigzag stitch, but normally I don't start a project with an "I'm going to finish ALL THE SEAMS and be legit!" mindset.
    But since I'd spent a bunch of time on it I decided to just finish it up anyway. And once I finished it, I was suddenly in love with it. It was a great feeling, trying it on again, expecting to be disappointed but instead being all, WOW. Hot damn I made this, this is awesome!
     I was able to get it over my head without the zipper's help, so this baby is zipperless. And yes, it's quilting cotton, but I don't care. The minty green zigzags were one of the only things to catch my eye the night I went to Hancock Fabrics, so they came home with me despite their fiber content :)
     Pretty much the only thing I don't like about how it turned out is the neckline. It's doesn't lie flat, but it's not bad enough to discourage me from wearing the top.
     I didn't match the zigzags at all the peplum seams, because there are six of them total and between you and me, I forgot to buy extra fabric to match everything up. Yeah, I forgot to do that for all three lengths of fabric that were destined to become Avas, even though they're all prints. Somehow I managed to avoid disaster though!
     Let's move on to Ava #2! First of all, look at this print:

it's darker in person
     Normally, I'm super timid about wearing prints. But I love this one sooooo much! It's a corduroy, which I'd never sewn with before, but it was a breeze to work with.
 OMG this fabric made me love prints. It kind of reminds me of Carnival-- Brazil Carnival, not carnival de US, with popcorn and bearded ladies and other carnies. I'm not sure if this is overly stereotypical, but this is what I'd want ot wear shopping in a street mercado somewhere in Latin America.
    The pink is a knit, I'm not sure of the specifics. I was when I bought it, but I soon forgot. I was careful to remember to zigzag the upper bodice and the part where the upper and lower bodice connect.
    This dress was actually meant to be a gift for one of my sisters. I was sad to give it away; I honestly wanted nothing more than to keep it for myself. Well, it turns out it doesn't exactly work for Ally, so now it's mine! And now I feel bad for hoping I'd get to keep it because I got what I wanted and Ally got no dress :/ But then again, I love this thing. LOVE. IT.
   Ok, you might've maybe noticed that this baby is a teensy bit short. Ok, it's pretty short. That's one of the reasons Ally didn't keep it; she's a bit taller than yours truly. It's almost too short for me, but I love it too much to let it keep me from wearing it. And in my defense, Ally is still a tad short, so I thought it'd work for her. I don't really know how it's so short; I made it according to the pattern, and normally I give things a super hem or chop off a good bit at the bottom. For reference, I'm 4' 10". Sooo if I were a normal height this dress would be unwearable. Pretty much the only time I've been thankful for being vertically challenged.
     And now that I think of it, the pattern comes with a tea length option, if that's more to your liking. Personally, I don't wear dresses or skirts that go below my knees; they make me about 2 feet tall. And hey, I'm young and free; I can get away with short dresses still.
    For sizing, I used the smallest size-- I think it's 0 (and I'm too lazy to go check, see what a professional blogger I am lol) for the bust and widened it to a 2 for the waist, making it the length of the size 0. It's a little loose in the waist, but nothing too upsetting.                                                         
   And since this pattern has a circle skirt, know what it's great for?! TWIRLING THAT'S WHAT.

      It took waaay too many tries to get those pictures. Lotsa dizziness. But also lotsa fun :D
     Technically, it's not a full circle skirt. I didn't have enough fabric for what the pattern pieces needed, so I narrowed the panels at the bottom, making sure not to take anything off at the waist, so that it'd all still fit together with the bodice.
    Obviously, twirling doesn't help the length issue, I'll have to watch myself. Possibly wear a pair of Spanx underneath.
    I did a hand picked zipper for the first time on this dress, I used this Sewaholic tutorial. On my first try I did the stitches backwards. Like, instead of the tiny little pinprick stitches showing, the bigger ones were on the outside and the little ones on the inside. The tutorial was awesome though, I just read something wrong in there somewhere. I went back and followed it step by step and everything was peachy keen :)
     Hemming these suckers took foreverrrr. I used Gertie's tutorial for narrow hemming circle skirts, and it too was easy to understand and implement. I love all the sewing tutorials on the Internet; they're lifesavers:)
   Woah-k, this turned into a long post! I'll wrap up with a Like/Dislike list about Ava.
-LOVE the sweetheart-but not-really neckline
-NO FACINGS (no me gusta los facings)
-lots of options/variations
-I'm sooo happy both prints worked well, especially I've never really done prints before. I'm pretty impressed I didn't completely screw them up.

-skankalisciously short
-the neckline on the top (I've realized it works better when I cut  the neckline/ sleeve bands a little shorter than directed, then stretch them to fit. Prevents gape like a BOSS)
-I feel like the dress is more for fall, so I have to wait allllll summer to wear it. Boo.