Monthly Archives: April 2014

I Pledge Allegiance To Me-Made-May

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Less than 48 hours until I’m on Flickr lurking sewists from all across the planet. Well, lurking more than usual. Oh, how I love this time of year. Me-Made-May has always meant a lot to me, as it was one of the first social events in which I participated as a less than three-month-old baby seamstress in 2012. The encouragement and inspiration during the challenge, not to mention Zoe’s fun and fearless leadership, kept my newfound sewing enthusiasm at a high level, and I got to know so many lovely blogoddesses and their unique styles.

Me-Made-May 2012

Me-Made-May 2013

By my second year, I was able to challenge myself by wearing a complete me-made ensemble every day with no outfit repeats. While I was happy to stick with that pledge, those parameters occasionally prevented me from wearing beloved separates that didn’t have a me-made ‘partner’ as it were. This year my pledge is to wear virtually all new-to-you garments, either made since last Me-Made-May or previously un-MMM-ed due to weather or the separates issue.

I, Shelley of Cuckoo Chanel, pledge to complete Me-Made-May’14. I endeavor to wear and document at least one me-made garment per day, previously unworn during a Me-Made-May challenge.

Be on the lookout for me. I’m shelshel on Flickr and @shelleyhesson on Instagram. Please join me in this celebration of pattern enabling and fabric drooling. Thanks again, Zoe!

Ahhhhlisalex, AKA Sew Dolly Clackett Dress #2

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Ahhhhlisalex, AKA Sew Dolly Clackett Dress #2

Shall we list the ways that Sew Dolly Clackett has enhanced our lives?

1. A Flickr group to stalk relentlessly
2. Discovering new blogoddesses through said Flickr group
3. An excuse to celebrate–as though we need one
4. Getting past previous hurdles and coming out looking fabulous

So yes, all that and more. Who knew that one sewing event could do so much?

I’ll try to keep the bla bla bla short. I’ve been wanting to make a successful Elisalex by those impossibly well-dressed and well-tressed ladies at By Hand London for over a year now. My first and only Mood trip (so far) was heavily focused on finding the perfect fabric to make that tulip pop. Thing is, I overthought and underthought this dress every step of the way.

I did okay with the muslin, following the impeccably written FBA post by Elisalex herself. Twas looking good

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Then it all went pear-shaped. Literally.

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Don’t ask. I won’t even post a pic of the original muslin, out of this crazy faille (insert fail/faille pun here).

I was so focused on having the fabric be sturdy enough to be a tulip that I didn’t concentrate enough on making the bodice look good. I overlengthened the waist in my crazy bastardization of the FBA, so it never looked right once I attached the skirt. The back was all saggy, etc. etc. I had given up.

Then I started witnessing all of these happy cotton Sew Dolly Clackett creations, and I did a facepalm. Why didn’t I ever just try a cotton version and work it out that way first? If the tulip didn’t ‘bloom’, I could always try the recommendation of using fusible interfacing on the skirt. I chose this crazy print in my stash called Olivia’s Holiday, by Westminster Fibers, and tried out the new theory.

Ta-daaaaaa

Look how happy I was last night when I started having breakthroughs with the fit. And by the way, the skirt was NEVER a problem, in any of my attempts. The pattern design is so good that the shape just happens.

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This morning my actual tulips congratulated me by opening just in time for some Earth Day shots. Thank goodness I bought an iPhone tripod attachment because the man was sound asleep.

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This is just a hands-on-hips kinda dress. I love the whimsy of it. The tulip shape is a riot.

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My only true regret about making a second dress is that I’m wearing the same pink shoes as in my first Dolly Clackett dress. May the shoe gods forgive me for not splashing out for some new ones. I did throw in a little variety later though. Scroll on…

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I promise the back bodice fits, or at least better than in any previous version. I was in a hurry, and mortified imagining my neighbors peeking out their windows at my narcissism. And I know we’re supposed to celebrate our lumps, but back fat doesn’t help in any fitted dress.

Grabbed the now-awake boyfriend for a lunch break photo shoot, and here’s some more frivolity.

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Just had to twirl and scream with glee. Good weather, time with my honey, and a new dress

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Had to celebrate even more by taking Elisalex out to dinner. Look how irritatingly well it matches this jacket.
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From the bottom of my heart, I thank Sarah (Check out her Lilly Laurel) for dreaming up and running this whole thing. I know it’s been a lot of work, but you have created something phenomenal. Thank you Roisin, for being the muse to SO many in the blogging community. Thank you, crazy women in the Flickr pool, for being so beautiful. There are over 430 photos in the group at this moment. How jaw-droppingly wonderful. Have fun judging, Roisin!

Shelley

SO Dolly Clackett

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How many times have we swooned over Roisin‘s dreamy dresses? Luckily, SOMEONE (namely Sarah of Rhinestones and Telephones) decided it’s time for the blogoddesses to channel their inner Dolly Clackett and frockify ourselves accordingly. It’s also a celebration of Roisin’s upcoming nuptials next month, but somehow I think anyone reading this post is aware of that happy fact.

Fortunately, I already had the perfect pattern/fabric marriage of my own picked out. The fabric is a slightly stretchy and substantial cotton from my first trip to Mood last March during a major sewista meetup, and the pattern has been made by our muse once or twice or more.
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As luck and sloth would have it, I never made the thing, so the combo was still waiting for me when Roisin Fest was announced. It was so meant to be.

When I opened the pattern, I was seriously stoked. FOUR PIECES (if you don’t make the bow). That’s music to my lazy sewist ears. There are actually more pieces to cut when you include the lining, but to know you only have to fiddle with four pieces… I was crying with happiness already. I cut somewhere between a 20 and 22, fudged a bit of an FBA, and loved how the muslin turned out. So did David Hasselhoff, as it happens.

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Hasselhoff appearance courtesy of Google+ and their brilliant April Fool’s Day joke of Hoffsome-ing our photos.

Was happy enough with the muslin to go ahead and cut into the Precious, and was a super good girl and pressed when appropriate, was careful sewing the darts, etc. etc. I forgot how much I love a lined bodice. Looks so sharp.

The only thing I don’t absolutely adore about this print is that the Eiffel Towers are upside down in relationship to the rest of the repeat. However, inverted Eiffel bewbs are amusing.

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I had a finished product just in time to go to an event at my friend’s store in Asbury Park, Backward Glances (where I also got the accessories for my shift), which happens to sell retro clothes and accessories. She has petticoats in varying lengths and had a perfect one in pink. LOVE.

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Spring finally happened in New Jersey, so it’s proper photo shoot time.

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It’s been an absolute pleasure to check out everyone’s work in the Sew Dolly Clackett Flickr group. Wowza!! If by chance you haven’t visited lately, go immediately.

Thank you, Sarah, and congratulations to Roisin and Nic!

Yours in twirly girliness,
Shelley

How Could Cuckoo Not Make a Coco. Or Five.

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Anyone know of a Coco intervention group?  Clearly I have a problem.  But you all keep making such incredible versions!!  I had to buy it and try it. 

It started with a sort of wearable muslin, with some previously-uninspiring periwinkle jersey knit.  I opted for the funnel neck, which I adore. Ended up loving it so much that I wore it to work the next day, still only basted at the side seams and defiantly unhemmed.

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Love that fancy neck!!

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I promise I pressed this before the shoot.  The sleeves buckled under the stress of trying to get the tripod set up and find an okay spot on the patio.  Scenic, huh?

I instantly made a second dress, in the open neck version, out of a ponte knit from the wonderful Fabric Mart, and took advantage of a FREEZING but beautiful spring day down the Jersey Shore. 
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I have INSANE eyes in this, but I love how my hair and dress look.  On a day this windy, you take what you can get!!

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Oh yeah, and I ran into Elvis. 

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Somewhere in the middle of this dress-fest, I decided to make a top, out of this fabulous fox fabric from Girl Charlee.  I had already ordered the fabric before discovering this post by the adorable College Seamstress (http://thecollegeseamstress.blogspot.com/2014/03/coco-what-does-fox-say.html), but I blatantly stole the idea of what to do with said fabric from Elizabeth, with her kind permission of course.  I only ordered a yard for some reason, so I had to improvise with red sleeves.  I love the look and how well the red matches, but it does look pajama-y.  Not that that will stop me from wearing it anywhere and everywhere.Image

I also am in the process of making a cute white (yes, WHITE.  Ahhh) Coco top for the summer, but it’s only basted and not photo-worthy, and this post is already picture-heavy enough.  Plus, I still have ONE MORE dress to document.

This awesome psychedelic print from Girl Charlee was so cute I couldn’t decide whether to buy it in black or blue so I bought both.  They’re almost identical.  I mean, truly.  There was no reason to buy both but I did anyway.  I’m calling it my Mad Men spectating dress since I didn’t get anything made in time for Julia Bobbin’s third annual Mad Men extravaganza.  I’m wearing it while drinking martinis and looking at your Mad Men Makes.

Speaking of martinis, here’s me immediately after making this puppy, makin dranks for my honey. 

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Today was decidedly less windy and cruel, so we went a’ridin’ in the new make.  I’m going to pose like this always from now on, because it makes me look thin.

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Green legs rule.

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Ahh, sunshine!!!!

Thanks for indulging me in this Coco photo fest.  I just love being one of the poster children.  And thanks as always for reading, commenting, etc. 

Major sewing hugs
Shelley