Sunday, May 31, 2015

Summer Sophia Dress

By Hand London Sophia Dress

By Hand London Sophia Dress

I just finished my first By Hand London dress, the loverly Sophia!! I immediately loved the design of the Sophia, and grabbed it up during their pre-sale sale. The mixture of the 8 darts and the angled cut of the straps is sooo modern and chic - Love it! I knew it would be the perfect dress to wear to spring/summer weddings.

Soo many darts!

I spent a lot of time looking at fabric, and originally had my heart set on a pretty wool/lurex blue and gold brocade but couldn't quite commit because of the price. Then I found this pretty (& reversible) cotton jacquard from Mood - in my budget and completely perfect. Cotton is a much better choice for summer anyways, and this fabric is also super comfortable and easy to dance in!

Sewing the bodice and lining together

By Hand London Sophia Dress

I used the reverse side of the fabric for the bodice, it's not super noticeable but still a fun detail  :)  Overall, the dress was pretty simple to make and the BHL directions were great! The hardest part was matching the darts and keeping them from moving out of place while sewing. I pinned the darts together first - matching them carefully, and then continued with the rest of the pinning. I suggest using a lot of pins so your fabric doesn't slip the darts out of place.

Josh and I took pics while hiking through Pony Pastures park, along the James River in Richmond. It was a beautiful day, it is full-on summer here - so warm! I also wore the dress to my cousin's wedding last weekend (and finished it the night before!)!

By Hand London Sophia Dress
Lovely lining!

Iowa wedding

This dress is going to get a lot of wear, it's so simple and comfy. I've been sewing up a storm lately! I have a couple pencil skirts and a tote bag in the works  :)

Photographer found in his natural habitat

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Paisley Skinny Tie DIY

Last month, Josh and I celebrated our 1st anniversary with yummy food, a Bob Dylan concert, and this paisley skinny tie. I bought the lovely silk fabric from Mood a few years ago, and finally - finally made Josh a tie with it. The light blue fabric is leftover from when I made my wedding dress! I'm sooo pleased with the result. Josh actually asked me where I bought it!

Tie pieces

I did a lot of online searching for a free and easy to follow skinny tie pattern. I found the perfect pattern/instructions on the blog Joe & Cheryl. Cheryl geniusly took one of Joe's old ties to copy the pattern from, so it's the perfect shape for a skinny tie. Check out their blog for full instructions  :)

I used leftover blue silk from my wedding dress for the inner fabric!

After tapping and cutting my pattern pieces out, I cut all my fabric. Pretty much everything has to be cut on the bias, so the tie will bend & tie-up nicely. Because I was using silk, and silk is all wiggly, I used a rotatory cutter. The rotary cutter also worked well, since I was mostly cutting long straight lines. When I had all the pieces, I sewed together the tie. Cheryl's instructions are amazing, they made it so simple to put together.

I definitely want to make some more ties, maybe with some vintage silk or some nice wool! Father's Day is right around the corner too - ties make great gifts ya'll!

Saturday, May 2, 2015

DIY Letterpress

Hot Letterpress Action!

Finished invite!

Last spring I was uber busy getting ready for our wedding, and because of that my little blog here was put on the back-burner. In all the excitement, I completely forgot to post about my handmade letterpress wedding invitations. So here goes!

I've always loved the look of letterpress invitations, but they were totally out of my budget. As a designer/crafter - I decided it would be fun to try making my own. Because making things is fun! I searched the web for info about letterpressin', and I found instructions on how to make your own press! The instructions were written by Charles G. Morgan, here's a link to his PDF. My Dad helped me with building the press (aka he built the whole thing - thanks Papa-Georgio!) We had to buy a few things, but luckily we had most of the ingredients on hand.

Rolling the ink

I bought paper, a roller, and ink from Dick Blick. I drew some sketches of the invitation and then I designed it in Adobe Illustrator and InDesign. I sent my design in to BoxCar Press, and they printed it onto a polymer plate. It was super easy and I was really happy with the quality of my plate.

The inked plate

Once I had the press and the plate, the process was pretty simple. I would roll a small (very small) amount of the dark blue ink onto my roller and then I would carefully roll it onto my plate (which I taped onto cardboard, so I could move it around more easily). Then even more carefully I lightly placed my pre-cut paper centered over the inked plate, and put another cardboard piece on top (to protect my paper and plate from the weight of the press. In the very first photo you can see that the two thin cardboard pieces (I think I cut them from a shoebox) were taped together at the top, so I just had to flip the top one over to make the sandwich. So the layers were... 1-cardboard, 2-plate, 3-ink, 4-paper, 5-cardboard. 

Finally, I carefully slid the sandwich into the press and cranked it closed several times (more info in the PDF instructions) to press the ink into the paper. It took some practice versions, but I was really happy with the end results! I think I made around 150 invites, so that was several hours of just inking and pressing (not counting the designing stage). It was totally worth the time though - they turned out beautiful, and now I have our invitation sitting out in our apartment - cause it's pretty!

Some of the invites drying

By the way, Happy Me-Made-May!!!