Ye Olde Holly

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Sep 2, 2014 0 Comments

Welp, the brand new Holly Jumpsuit from those sassy minxes at By Hand London is out (our copies will be arriving VERY SOON) and while I haven’t gotten a chance to try it, I was among the lucky dogs to try the first version. I skipped the top band and straps that they had planned and just went for a strapless, which, incidentally, is my new favorite strapless bodice (same as on my anniversary dress). I thought I would share some pix of the old girl because I was quite pleased with how it turned out. I felt very fancy wearing it out to Taco Tuesday at Tremont647 and drinks with the Crafty Foxes (as well as after party shenanigans chez Ping). I made it in black Brussels Washer Linen and used featherlight boning for the top. Came out pretty well, non? Soon I will finish a Strapless Holly/Charlotte Lovechild that was dubbed by Oh, She Dabbles “The Harlot” or is it “The Harlotte”? Putting in the zipper this afternoon and should be up in the very near future. For now, a defunct Holly for your delectation (these particular pictures may have been chosen for the illusion that I have buff arms):

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Here’s to Six Years

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Sep 2, 2014 0 Comments

John and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary on the 8th of August, before The Moving Whirlwind. We went to Grill 23, which was deelishis. If we’ve ever talked weddings, I’ve probably showed you pix from our little shindig at the Arboretum and Les Zygomates and casually (ok, very animatedly) mentioned how we were featured in Boston Weddings magazine. That was, in large part, due to our fab wedding photog, Ashley O’Dell. I made a strapless dress for our wedding and this year decided to make one for our anniversary.  I used the (now defunct) bodice of the Holly Jumpsuit for the top in this Anna Maria Horner home dec sateen and some rectangles of this voile for the skirt. The trick to strapless is 1. a well-fitting bra 2. boning. Man that stuff is amazing. I’ve never done spiral steel or anything fancy like that (brings me back to high school when I first ruptured a disc and wore a granny corset style back brace). The featherlite stuff that we sell works great for tops like this. You just cut a half dozen strips and sew the casing to seams in the lining and WAHHLAHH: a well-structured top. I might do this as a bustier so I can catch a ride on the two-piece train that has been boarding all over the blogs. Wow, that is an analogy that didn’t quite make it, isn’t it?

So, here are the pix (be sure to check out my fancy anniversary Fryes. Oooh lala!! Love dem Fryes!) Also, try to ignore the wrinkly skirt. I think I had already brought my borrowed ironing board back to the store at this point.

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In Michigan & that rhymes with Gin! Kind of!

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Aug 19, 2014 things we like 0 Comments

We are officially living in Michigan. The drive out wasn’t too terrible and I did pretty well with that 16′ truck, if I do say so myself. Most of the boxes have been unpacked, though my fancy sewing machine is not set to arrive until the end of the week, so I haven’t really delved into the sewing room yet. It is admittedly quite luxurious to have a sewing room (slash guest room slash futon-that-the-dogs-have-claimed room) but it will definitely not compare to having a whole store to roam around in. I miss it already, though I know that Ashley and Katy will be rocking out and generally making the store an even better place. I’m planning on skyping in for tomorrow’s Crafty Foxes Sewing Club and drinking with the best of them.

SPEAKING OF DRINKING: gin. Have you been wondering how I brewed up that gin for our recent shindig? Well wonder no longer. The kind folks at Uncommon Goods suggested that I do a review of one of their products on ye olde blogge and at first I was skeptical. I wasn’t sure I’d find an item that worked within our mission and wasn’t somehow a conflict of interest. Then I saw it, dear readers, the holy grail: The Homemade Gin Kit. What better way to fuel the going away party than with a DIY beverage? Perfect. They packed it on up and I made us some juniper-infused goodness. (An aside: wouldn’t Juniper & Dart be a great name for a brand? Dart’s role in all this comes at the end of the post.)

The kit uses juniper and a deelishis blend of other botanicals to infuse a neutral spirit with ginnyness. You do have to provide your own hooch, so if you’re giving this as a gift, I’d recommend thinking ahead and tossing in a bottle of some middle of the road vodka. There’s no secondary distilling involved (or really required, in my opinion) so you don’t have a crystal clear end product, but boy was it yummy. I think I’d let it sit even longer next time, and possibly introduce some new botanicals, like rose petals or black tea, to give it a personal twist.

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The kit itself is pretty simple: herbs, strainer, funnel, and bottles. I opted for the flask-shaped ones, but the round corked variety were pretty cute, too. You could source these things on your own, but it’s awfully nice to have everything in one place, especially for gift-giving. At $50+booze, it would not be a cheap gift, though for the right recipient it is super sweet.  I probably wouldn’t have thought to purchase this for myself, but it was super fun to get and to make. It feels like a kind of scrumptious gateway drug to home liquor experimentation and that works just perfectly for me. I pretty much immediately started thinking about what variations I would make next and now that we’re safely moved into our new laboratory err apartment, my experiments can begin! Moohahah! Maniacal laughter!!

Here are a couple of sheiks getting jazzed on giggle water, i.e. John and Daniel at the party, hamming it up with Pirouette cookie cigars.

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Later, luckily after it was no longer required, Dart found a yummy plastic funnel to play with. Thanks for nothing, Dart. See #whatdartate on Instagram for more fun puppysnack shenanigans and thanks again to Uncommon Goods for this uncommonly fun treat!

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(I was sent the gin kit gratis by Uncommon Goods and have told the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth about my experience with it. Amen.)

 

Party Review

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Aug 6, 2014 Crafty Foxes, par-tay! 2 Comments

And now the moment you’ve all been waiting for: party pix! We were partying pretty hard, so it was pretty late before we got the camera out and by then it was mostly Crafty Fox folks, but a big THANK YOU to each and every person who has stopped by during the past couple of weeks to tell me goodbye & good luck. It really does mean the world to me that so many folks are wishing me well on this new adventure? chapter? something? Well, anyhow, before I get all teary-eyed, here are the lovely Ping and Mackenzie:

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Emily of Dressing the Role and Blogless Sarah, both of whom are also leaving for faraway lands. And in Tap Shorts, no less!tap shorts_sm

Two Sarahs, hamming it up.

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Jessica made us cookies and gave us our future homes in cutter format: Michigan for me and North Carolina for Blogless Sarah.

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The girls also got me a FAT gift certificate to Goorin Bros, which John and I spent immediately. He got an aviator for those cold Michigan winters and I got a grey wool fedora and a straw floppy that I’ve been parading about in, wearing my dark sunglasses from Fetch. It makes me feel like such a fancy lady! Pix soon.

We drank some gin, which led to SIN (not really). Here’s me looking like a gun moll with the new Professor Grey. Good job, husbeeste. Also, can I mention how much I love this dress? I think I need to add lingerie strap holder thingies, though. Easy enough!gun moll_sm

And at the after party, here’s Ashley doing her best Aurigirl impression. Ha-ha. Role reversal as feminist commentary! Kind of!

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Hey hey, the gang’s all here. For now…group!_sm

Sewing Parties & Machine Specials

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Jul 30, 2014 par-tay!, pfaff, sewing machines 0 Comments

How do you feel about parties? I don’t LOVE them unconditionally, since sometimes it can just be exhausting to be around people you don’t know. That being said, my bon voyage party is going to be super fun for a number of reasons. 1. ME 2. Greyhounds 3. Sewing people, who are great even if you don’t know them and, perhaps most importantly: 4. Gin, made by me. This will get its own post soon, and don’t worry, I don’t have an illegal still in my bathtub.

There is another sewing party that I will be attending: The Sewing Party! It’s an online class-stravaganza happening on November 8th that I learned about from Madalynne. She’s doing a bra class, which I will definitely be taking.  Melissa Watson’s class on silks is also on my list.

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One reason that I’m hyped about this is that my favorite sewing machine brand is one of the sponsors. Yay, Pfaff! Catering to the  young folk: because even whippersnappers deserve perfect stitches! How’s that for a tagline? Not so good? Well, I’ll keep working on it.

The Sewing Party isn’t until November, but Pfaff is having some great specials come August 1st. The Smarter 140 will be down from $350 to $299 (new) and we’ll have our floor models for $250. The Ambition Essential, normally $850, will be $599 new ($550 floor model). During my party, they’ll be as low as $225 and $499, respectively. Whoa, dude. (Our last Creative Performance will be $2160 – crazy talk!)

Tax-free weekend hasn’t officially been scheduled (though chances are good it will be August 9th and 10th). Honestly the 10% off during the party is the best deal in town.

See you soon, sweet sewists.

Thanks, Pattern Review!

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Jul 29, 2014 par-tay!, sewing clothes 0 Comments

This past Saturday we hosted a li’l meetup for PatternReview, founded by the lovely Deepika. We had mimosas and cookies and, so far as I could tell, a good time was had by all! I was a little out of it in the morning, so my spiel about how the shop came to be might not have been the most coherent ever, but c’est la vie.They had a pattern swap and then headed to brunch at Cinquecento, followed by more shopping at Bead and Fiber and Winmill. Thanks for coming, Pattern Reviewers! Here’s a pic I stole of all of us (I’m looking a little slouchy in my most recent Deer & Doe Sureau in Leah Duncan fabric by Art Gallery. Have to remember to stand up straight; don’t want to waste all that physical therapy I’ve had for the ol’ back-eroo.):

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And in case you were wondering, I hadn’t been hitting the mimosas. I’m saving all my alcohol calories for this Saturday’s Bon Voyage Foxtravaganza. Will I see you there, sweet sewists?? There will be freshly infused gin…

 

Bon Voyage Party Pour Moi

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Jul 15, 2014 6 Comments

Ok, I’m about to drop a bit of a bomb on y’all. I’m moving. To Michigan.

You see, John got an Assistant Professorship at Michigan State and because those bad boys are rarer by the year, he snatched it up faster than you can say, “health insurance.” Since we can’t reasonably afford two rent payments (and don’t get me started on my antipathy towards Boston rents!) I’ll be packing up the puppies and moving to Lansing, Michigan with my husband.

Don’t worry, the shop isn’t going anywhere. Laney-belle, my darling assistant, is going to be there on a near-daily basis to tend to your fabric-related needs. We will have a modified schedule, which I’ll be announcing soon.

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To celebrate this bittersweet milestone, I vote that we get well and truly smashed. Saturday, August 2nd, I plan to do just that. We’ll have drinks, snax, and a discount to entice you to come say goodbye to your favorite Grey. That could be John, Spindle, Dart, or me. We’ll all be present for the par-tay.

All day on August 2nd, we’re extending the discount normally reserved for Crafty Fox Sewing Club attendees: 10% off everything. It’ll be a great time to stock up and an especially great time if you need a machine, since floor models are fair game for the discount!

(Additionally, blogless Tall Sarah got a professorship at in North Carolina and will be departing at the same time, so this party is in part for her as well. A veritable Flight of the Sarahs!)

Hope to see you then, sweet sewists!

Diana

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Jul 11, 2014 a crazy fabric lady gets dressed, patterns, sewing clothes 1 Comment

Easy, breezy, beautiful: The Diana Cami! I recently discovered Sew Loft’s darling PDF patterns and guess what, gentle reader, the Diana Cami is FREE FREE FREE! A front and a back connected by bias tubing, this is a great quick make for a hot summer night. I used Anna Maria Horner’s Sinister Swarm Voile and some of our 1″ bias tape in Dark Ocean Blue. I have never liked turning things inside out, but then again I had never tried turning tiny tubes made from bias tape inside out. IT’S AMAZING. That bias stretch is just the thing you need to turn them with ease. I used my trusty Clover tube turner (back in stock soon) and was sort of speechless. I kept showing people who came in the store my findings and probably seemed like a crazy person. This stuff is awesome, though. I don’t know if I’ll do another Diana, or make a slip version, or use it some other way, but I love it. It looks so delicate and professional. Just like me. Ha. By Hand London has a tutorial for another way to make them, using on grain fabric, here.

How do you feel about rouleau straps, sewists? Have you ever tried a bias version?

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On Joining the Digital Age

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Jul 9, 2014 0 Comments

PDF patterns. Some love them, some hate them. There is, admittedly, something special about a pattern booklet with its perfect little package. I am a packaging sucker and indie designers are really on the money with that. Sometimes, however, you need a pattern RIGHT AWAY. Sometimes you can’t afford the shipping from the other side of the globe. Sometimes the pattern is out of print. Sometimes it was never in print at all! Enter: the PDF.

Until very recently, we only sold patterns of the paper variety. However, when Katy & Laney released their darling Tap Shorts pattern, I knew that I wanted to hook up with them to spread the K&L word! Since that time, I’ve partnered with several more digital designers, with more on the way. K&L, Thread Theory, Sis Boom, Waffle Patterns, and In House Patterns are live as of this writing, with Named,  Swoon, and Kate & Rose to come in the near future.

We’re lucky to have a laser printer at the shop, so printing time is really fast, even if the pattern is 50 pages. Cutting and taping is kind of a pain sometimes, but once you get a system, it usually goes pretty smoothly. I like to rotary off the bottom and right-hand side of the pattern right away so that there is just one side overlapping. It makes it easier to see where everything lines up. My fave rotary size is 28mm, though since these are all straight cuts the 45mm would be great too. I’ve never used a 60mm. Quilters? Do y’all use that big honker? Anyhow, a rotary paired with Grey’s 2″x18″ ruler (and a mat! don’t ruin your table!) is pretty much perfect for prepping PDF patterns.

I printed out the Cool Cowl by In House Patterns today and taped/cut it. Make sure that your printer is set to scale at 100%, or else you’ll have dire size issues later.

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Cut off as many or as few sides as you find helpful.

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In House Patterns tile up in just two rows, which I found to be quite easy to wrangle!OKvs2BqeiBgsczOT.jpg

If your triangles don’t match up exactly, don’t fret. You just have to shave off a bit when you’re cutting to make sure that the lines stay continuous (in fancy terms, this is called truing up). Also, I never cut out paper pieces for rectangles. I just write the measurements down (sometimes incorrectly the first time…) and cut them out with my rotary and a ruler.

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Exciting times! I’m going to try to cut this bad boy out tonight at Crafty Foxes Sewing Club, depending on how much we are all hitting the classy box wine tonight. See you, sweet sewists.