Monthly Archives: April 2012



Okay, I’ve been thinking about Me-Made-May ’12 for days, but I’m gonna commit. Perhaps I’ll modify it to a Mini-Me-Made-May’12, considering my limited experience/wardrobe/patience, but I’d love to give a go.

I have the widget, so I’d better make the pledge to Me-Made-May ’12 Thanks to hostess Zoe of So, Zo… What Do You Know.

I, Shelley of CuckooChanel, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May’12. I endeavor to wear something handmade or refashioned each day for the duration of May 2012.

Let’s see how far into the month I can get.

Who else is in? The excitement is building! 🙂

Dress #8. The sheath. Completed 4/28/12


As always, things are going slowly, but I think this is gonna be cute. It would be wunderbar to have a reliable sheath dress pattern. I think I found it on Pattern Review while researching a dress that can be made with about 2 yards of fabric. It had great reviews so I bought it. Simplicity 4118.

First experience with darts. Okay so far, but I’ve only basted. Haven’t fully committed yet.

Did an emergency front/back baste to see if it might fit, and it’s looking like it has potential.


Love the length, love the neck, love the fabric. Yep, it’s a sheath.

(Look, ma, I’m darting!)



Yay!!! A dress in one day. Okay, except for the hem which I never wanna do, and the zipper is still only basted. And it needs a bit of emergency pressing. Too tired to go into too many details, but I’m extremely happy with the results. Except for this


What the hell is THAT??? I don’t think even hook and eye closures can remedy this. Oh well, that’s what long hair is for. I think I can redo the zipper and take the top part in. It all went too well. There had to be a snafu somewhere.

The neckline is sweet, and the darts aren’t horrific for a first-timer.


So here’s the whole dress. Love it! Will definitely make more. Fits great and I have a ton of fabric screaming to become this sweet little creation.



Hand on hip with cat background. Hi from my Teddy.

Good night!!

Wishing I Were A Six-Armed Hindu Goddess


Ever wanted to make three dresses at once? Not have three projects going on, but literally be constructing three dresses simultaneously? That’s where I am right now. Why can’t I grow another couple sets of arms? These patterns and fabrics are so scrumptious I literally don’t know where to begin. And that yellow fabric in the background with the tulips on it is realllly taunting me. I’m really going to have to fudge to get a whole dress out of it, but I’m gonna try.

Happy Weekend Everyone. Hope you’re either enjoying the spring weather or nerding out with fabric like me.


Dress #7. Completed 4/26/12


Happy Friday, fellow victims of fabric obsession!!

This is the same post I started last Saturday, but I’m reposting to try to start getting things in chronological order. It’s exhausting playing with the space time continuum…

Since I’m already starting to forget the individual trials and tribulations of my previous dresses, I’m going to try to record one from the beginning. Here’s me cutting pieces on my boyfriend’s floor because I’m too impatient to just wait until I’m home tomorrow in the comfort of my cutting-table-equipped basement.

This is a Simplicity 1880 from their Project Runway line. I’m using a nice big piece of polyester that looks like a good weight and drape for this pattern. Wish me luck…


I’ve altered it so far in the cutting process by cutting it to roughly a 14 in the bodice pieces. The pattern stops at 12 but I’m improvising. I’m determined to get this bust situation in order.

Update 4/24:
Well, the bust is sort of okay, but I had my first major skirt failure. Somehow I managed to cut a size or so too small (That’s what I get for being impatient and cutting on the floor!) so I ended up with this


Add game show failure music here–Wah-Wah-Wah-wahhhhhhhhhh.

I sort of improvised an additional front skirt panel but after a couple of slightly off bastings was just too disgusted to look at it anymore so no pic of that yet. It actually might be salvageable, but I just need to let it and me breathe for a day and get out my friend the seam ripper tonight.

I hope I have better luck with the sleeves. Sigh. Groan.

Update. 4/26

Well, it’s done. There are a trillion things wrong with it, but if I wear the right foundation garments and remember to suck in, I think I’ll pull it off.


My love affair with the Crayon Folio


When I started sewing a few months ago, I never imagined making gifty crafty things. They never appealed to me at all. But nowadays it seems that just about half of my creations have been quirky, hopefully somewhat useful gifts.

It all started with tea wallets, which I didn’t even know were a thing, that I found on Craftster while looking for easy beginner sewing projects. They’re way easy and fun, and I’ve made at least six people happy with these awesome things.

Tea Wallet Tutorial

And how great is Craftster?! How could you not love a site that declares No Tea Cozies Without Irony. 🙂

My favorite discovery, though, has been the crayon folio, designed by the wonderful Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake Patterns & Design

Gingercake Crayon Folio

My niece posted this wonderful creation on Pinterest, and I ended up buying the pattern and making one immediately for my great-niece.

I was borrowing a friend’s Husqvarna that embroiders letters, so I personalized it a bit for her.


And my niece was sweet enough to send a picture of the folio in action


I have made two more so far, one to a four-year-old neighbor and one to another niece. It’s SO fun to find ribbons and fabrics that reflect their interests and personalities. I particularly like the Rockstar ribbon.





There are infinite ways to personalize these puppies. I even make special stationery for the paper pocket with my greeting card designing program.

I hope this gives someone a good gift idea for the little girls in your life. The more I make, the more potential recipients I think of. Gingercake, you’ve created a monster!

Creative Kindness Beret


The bad news is that my latest dress isn’t going to be on any runway anytime soon. It’s almost like I’m getting worse at fitting, not better. See update under Dress #7. But setbacks are to be expected when you’re a baby seamstress. I just need patience. What’s that? I dunno. But I’m trying to find it.

The good news is I finally got to make a gift yesterday that I’ve been waiting for the right time to give. I have a dear friend starting chemotherapy, and she was told that she WILL lose her hair. I wanted to do something special and unique (like her) to show her that we’re rooting for her, and fortunately I found this website Brimming With Love. I cannot recommend it highly enough. It has many free and purchasable patterns to make your loved ones something beautiful and functional during the shit sandwich that is chemotherapy. I made the Creative Kindness Beret, which was very easy, out of some totally groovy pink polar fleece with horses on it that I found on eBay. Suited her to a T. The horse on the fabric even looks like her horse. 🙂

I popped it on to make sure the thing would actually fit a human head.


And to keep it clean and portable, I made a little lined bag out of the same fabric.



I won’t go into the emotional Rest of the Story, as Paul Harvey would say, but it turns out that the timing was perfect and the gift was appreciated. Who could have known that sewing would bring out not only a creative side I never had before, but an urge to give that I DEFINITELY never had before.

Go make someone feel cute today. 😉

And make it out of something really silly like piggie fabric.


Dress #6 April 16-May 20ish


Seems like I NEVER have as much time as I’d like to devote to sewing, so a lot of these dresses are products of a few hours here and there, eventually getting done on like the third or fourth evening. This has taken at least three evening units so far, because I was meticulous in cutting the numerous pieces that this dress calls for. This was also the first dress I made using my awesome new cutting table that my wonderful Lenny found for me, and put in my grossly and criminally underused basement. How I’ve been wasting all that good space I’ll never know, but it’s officially part of the sewing process now. Before this I was cutting all of my pieces on the FLOOR, while catching lots of carpet loops in with the fabric. Just charming.

This is a Simplicity 1872, in the Cynthia Rowley line, that I bought during a recent Simplicity sale on Pattern Review. I fell in love with it instantly and had to have it. I made it with an adorable crepe fabric that I got on eBay, and it was the perfect vehicle for such a scrumptious creation. This is not a dress–it’s a confection. A luscious, dreamy cupcake of a thing. Cannot WAIT to wear it. And in typical Shelley fashion, I finish it just in time for a cold snap.

(And I promise I’ll stop with these cheesy self-taken shots in my messy bedroom that look like a bad Craigslist ad)

The actual construction of the dress wasn’t difficult at all. I even added lining to the bodice, even though the pattern doesn’t call for it, because the fabric is somewhat sheer. So this is sort of my first time altering a pattern. Neatto. The only problem was my dreaded bodice not quite fitting again. I never allow enough room for the girls. Really, I’m going to work on this…

I don’t think I did the understitching on the neck facing like I was supposed to. I really liked the look of just stitching it on and pressing it out, plus frankly I needed a bit more fabric in that area. I’ll post more pictures when I finish the armhole facing and the other particulars that I’ve been too lazy to finish.


Wow, it took me over a month to finish this thing. The weather just never got inspiring enough to bother with it, and I had several other projects that took up my time–8 more dresses, to be exact. Anyway, I finally did finish the armhole facings, and so far have hemmed the bottom tier, which I hope to get away with for as long as possible. I’m happy to say that New Jersey weather has finally shaped up, and that I can frolic in my cupcake dress now.



Something about this dress makes my head tilt. 😉

One more update. Heartwarming family moment. At my cousin’s high school graduation. Awwww.



Dress #5. Completed 4/14/12


The Fashion Victim dress, aka the Martian Flight Attendant dress.

New Look 6051. Workroom from Project Runway line.

It’s a tunic dress, totally not my style, but for a $3 pattern and probably $4 worth of fabric it’s a fun experiment. I got into this whole sewing thing to be fun and creative and girly, so why not do silly things like this.

It was easy to make, and my sweetie helped make the belt which was slightly cumbersome just because it was long and had to be turned inside out. Even with the pattern’s suggestion of starting from the middle and turning it inside out from both ends, it was still long and skinny and needed to be handled gently. My Lenny somehow got the safety pin to the end and pinned it, and I worked it back through. Good teamwork! 🙂 Making the channel for the belt using wide single fold bias tape was totally easy, and I love the look. The belt really gives the whole thing some sort of shape. My neck facing isn’t perfect, but I love the width of the neck, and my hair pretty much covers the flaws.

Anyway, the dress is odd but it works because it’s short and sexy. I would recommend a silky flowy fabric as opposed to the sort of crepey rayon I used, and killer heels.


Dress #4 Completed 3/26/12


The guitar dress. My beloved guitar dress. Simplicity 2580.

First dress using jersey knit, a really cool guitar fabric I bought on eBay. Finally strayed from my $1.50 Walmart stash. Much easier to work with than I would have thought. By the end of my first evening playing with it, I already had a bodice to try on, so I didn’t have to panic like with previous dresses and hurry to attach the skirt to make sure it would all fit.


After the second evening it was done!


I love the little cap sleeves.

This was such a great experience after fighting with the halter dress, and I will definitely work with jersey knit more. Especially if it has musical instruments on it. 🙂

Here it is in action on a recent trip to Savannah

Dress #2 Completed 3/19/12


The blue dress. Simplicity 2004. From the Sew Simple line.

Simple pattern. Got to learn pockets. Love the $1.50/yd fabric. Super comfy. It was a little too big as opposed to the fuchsia dress which was a bit snug. I have to wear a belt with it or otherwise it would be a tent. Sizing is definitely going to be a long and interesting journey for me.  I made the belt with some spare fabric and a little belt hoop/loop thingy (Have NO idea what that’s called 🙂 ) that I found in my buttons and notions tin.  (In the picture I had just tied some fabric around my waist.) I need to press it out better and maybe stiffen it with some interfacing.