I'm trying to put up a post of the Over Easy dress but the weather will simply not cooperate. 51 degrees and rainy miserableness is no perfect setting for taking pictures in a summer dress. And since I've committed to modeling whatever it is that I stitch up, we'll just have to wait until the skies clear later this week....boo. Until then perhaps I should sport this little number?


The Way To A Man's Heart Is Through His Fly

Gasp! Did I just insinuate something dirty?

Why, yes, yes I did.

Let's start things off with a little story and then we'll get to the goods. May I suggest you grab a drink (iced tea would be most appropriate for this tale) because this post is sure to be a long one.
Back in the halcyon days of college, Matt and I started dating when he was a fourth year and I a lowly second year. Fourth-years, particularly those of the male variety, tend to have a lot of extra time on their hands. And so it was, with this extra time, that Matt could often be found out in the mountains of Albemarle, fishing rods in tow, little black lab trotting alongside him while the trusty ol' red jeep sat on the gravel dirt road, awaiting their sure-to-be-filthy return.

A key indicator that fishing was on the agenda? Matt's ratty old hat, acquired from his favorite fly shop, that had the cheeky message, "The way to a man's heart is through his fly." He sported this thing every day until Hootie Bootie ate it in a fit of boredom while we were at a horse race or something. Look closely below and you'll see I'm not making this stuff up.

Were I a true, proper Southern gal I may have been repulsed. But I've got coarser Yankee blood and love to throw a "that's what she said" out there whenever applicable so the hat's message caused me to roll my eyes with affection.

Fast forward four years and I decide to move back north to Chicago, dragging Matt out of the woods and into the city. Fast forward another four years and I drag Matt out of the city and into our basement, armed with the brilliant idea of gutting the place and reinstalling a perfectly functional but currently fugly bathroom. Take a quick visual inventory of what we were working with, would you?

Some of you know the middle part of the bathroom tale. Like the part where we tore up the floor and were trying to decide how to cram existing bathroom fixtures in a new space half the size of the old.

And some of you also know that I painted the basement twice, my decorating M.O., and in the case of the bathroom it still wasn't right.

Just as I thought I was losing his interest in home renovation I came across a little design element that I knew would win him over. Since this is a bit of a gentleman's bathroom, why not bring a little gentlemanly sport to it? Some posh flyfishing wallpaper from England got Matt back on the basement reno path. The hat's message was applicable again! The way to this man's heart is through his fly. So without further ado, I present our basement loo:

I know wallpaper ain't everyone's cup of tea, or bourbon, but friends, we love this little room. Like, luuuurve it. And as for all our grand plans of reusing the old stuff in order to be budget-smart, this is one case where I'm glad that idea flew the coop. This tiny slice of our city cottage reminds us both of life in the South and once we committed to the fishing wallpaper we ran with it. Let's stand in the middle of the room and take a tour:

You've seen the Ikea Ann sink and now you can see it dressed up with a $19 mirror from Hobby Lobby, whose riveted frame gives a gentle nod to the classic Federalist hostess mirror.

Atop the commode (another word no one uses anymore!) is a small metal basket plucked from TJMaxx for $8 and is the perfect container for spare toilet paper and a petite Ikea-grown succulent. While the plant leaves coordinate perfectly with the shades in the wallpaper I can't say this was a deliberate pairing. I'm not that anal!

But while we're on the topic of being, ahem, particular about house things, I'd like to move the tour to a few of the salvaged bathroom items. The first is our linen closet, which the picture plainly shows as being in use but not organized. Last weekend we had some friends visiting and they were delightfully amused when they opened our upstairs linen closet and found it to be in slight disarray. Apparently, this shattered the perfect image they had of my housekeeping skills. So ladies, this closet shot is for you. My messy towels aren't just limited to the second floor!

Moving upward you'll see the ceiling light and exhaust fan. Nothing special here other than we reused it and spray painted the baffle white to better blend in with the fresh new ceiling. $3 in spray paint goes a long way with something like this.

The new configuration of the bathroom doesn't really allow for towel racks so we've got some handy hooks instead. Both the towels and the towel hook are from Ikea.

I particularly liked this hook as it reminded me of a fishing lure. You might say I found it a-lure-ing. HA!

As we go to make our way back out the door you can get a glimpse of the wood plank-like tiles against the new carpet. All in all I'd say we're pleased with both of these selections.

But before we close the door on this project (and pack up our fishing gear) let's take a closer look at the wallpaper. Remember my earlier comment about the bathroom giving a slight, if inaccurate, nod to the Civil War? All credit for this realization goes to Angler Matt. He took one good look at the scene above the toilet and said, "The gray coats are on the wrong side of the river! They should be on the south bank! And the blue coats on the north!" Blasphemy! Then again, it's not like the Brits were fighting this battle so I guess we can't blame them for getting it wrong on the wallpaper.

With that, if you're still reading and sipping your tea, I close out this bathroom story. Enormous thanks go to my mom, who practically hung the wallpaper all by herself while I just provided additional paste and held the razor blades. She's a talented gal and we're so thankful to her on this Mother's Day weekend. Go grab your fishin' hats and have a great weekend!


WIP: Over Easy Dress

Here's what's shakin' on the Cynthia Rowley dress:
  • Sunday night I pretreated the fabric. It's a super soft linen from JoAnn's that looked destined to shrink. I try to avoid pretreating as much as possible because of impatience, first and foremost. And when it comes to cutting, the fabric never lays as smoothly as it did straight off the bolt. At least not for me, even after ironing.
  • Monday I cut stuff up. Because I had to match the pattern print, this took a decent chunk of time. Oh, and it involved a dumpster dive. More on that later.
  • Tuesday I started assembly. Roughly 3.5 hours later I had a dress! All that's left to do is the handstitching on the hem and tacking down some facings. Have a look-see at the progress:

We're having some of Matt's work chums (no one uses the word "chums" anymore so I thought I'd throw it out there) over for dinner tonight or tomorrow. Thus, I'll probably finish the dress this weekend and will provide a full review Monday. And you'll see why I've dubbed this one the "Over Easy" dress.

To finish things off today, J sent over some pics of the kiddie clothes for your viewing pleasure!

The Gentleman's Bathroom is on the docket for Friday. Get your fishing gear ready.


Baby Rompers, Indeed

I mean really, aside from Kate's emailed comments about snap tape being used for tear-away pants (genius and terrifying all at once!) what else would you put snap tape on aside from baby rompers? So ladies, bravo for zoning in on that pretty quickly!

Is that the surprise then? A bun in the oven? Yes! But here's what mine looks like:


Then what was I doing making baby rompers? They were gifts for our friends in town for the reunion this past weekend. Since these friends, J&P, occassionally drop in on the blog I had to keep the project under wraps until they opened the package. J&P just learned about 10 days ago that the kid in the making is a boy, leaving yours truly with very little time to whip up some outfits.

The patterns of choice this time around were both from Simplicity, 4711 and 2459. And I'm really sorry, but this is the only picture I have of the finished products (courtesy of J&P). Things were hectic last week and I was literally sewing on buttons and closing up seams on the El ride down to brunch, where I planned to give these to the parents-to-be. So put on your thinking caps, y'all, and imagine the following:

- nice summer-weight cottons in gingham, classic white, and plaid (which, tragically, I didn't even have the time to align perfectly....sigh)

- overalls sized for 1-3 months, plaid romper sized for 9-12 months

- serged finish seam edges (j'adore)

- tiny baseball and bat buttons for J, who is a big Cubs fan, and little yellow ducks in a row

- snap tape for the legs. Having used both the cloth twill-tape style with metal snaps and a nylon tape with plastic snaps, I'd recommend the former.

All in all I'd say these were good patterns to work with. Both of them are patterns with a basic foundation and lots of little options. You're left digging through the instructions at various points and that was mildly annoying. Yet once I finished the gingham overalls the romper went together much the same.

I've made baby clothes before and if you haven't gotten a strong indication of how much I love having a serger, I'll yell it from the rooftops.

It's marvelous!

When I whipped up some corduroy overalls years ago I wanted finished seams. Really my only option was french seams and any of you experienced sewists out there can probably imagine how thick they felt. Baby clothes, being a small as they are, don't leave a lot of room for bulky seams and the like. And when you're likely going to launder them a bazillion times it's swell to know that the seams won't unravel in the wash. I don't have munchkins of my own but I made a modest teenage living by babysitting (and simultaneously folding rompers) so to me, ensuring durability was key.

Anyway, we've got a handful of other friends who are preggers so I plan to make some of these again in the future. I promise to take more pictures the second (and third and fourth...) time around.


Snap to it

I'm sewing.
I'm serging.
I'm snapping.
"Snapping?" you ask.
"Why sure," I say.
That's what you do when snap tape is involved.
But the project is a surprise still waiting to be revealed.
Don't worry, I'll come clean next week.

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