Sunday, June 10, 2012

Finally, Some Cake!


I finally sucked it up and made some cake. And you know what? It was still pretty fun! I think the key to enjoying cake-making (cake-baking?) is to pick frosting-like colors/prints. For me, a cake-y basic is a loose and comfy knit dress that looks put together with the addition of a belt. Even though I would love to say I lounge around in fitted woven dresses like Betty Draper, it's just not the case; knit dresses are so much more comfortable, but I need to be able to look respectable* when I run out to do errands and such. I think this dress fits the bill, don't you think? And the coral stripes keep it from being utterly boring.

Pretty pleased with my stripe-matching on the seams!

Back view.

Besides the stripes to keep it fun, I also tried a new technique in order to keep my brain engaged. I've had this knit neckline tutorial bookmarked since I first started sewing, but I never used it because sewing t-shirts is cake, and I don't do cake. This is the first time I've tried it, and I must say, I'm quite pleased with how real (i.e. RTW) it looks! I think I just need a little more practice with keeping it even (or just not use striped fabric). For the pattern, I just sketched a loose kimono sleeve tee and extended the sides to make it dress-length. 

Close-up of the neckline. I also need to invest in a nuder slip.

You can really see the kimono sleeve-ness of it here. I'm also loving the range of motion. I can fetch my own pitchers now, Farm Boy.

Summary:
Fabric: 1.25 yards of jersey knit, most likely with some polyester since the selvages are pilling up already...I can't complain, though since it was from the bargain bin at SAS Fabrics (excellent source of fun knits if you're in the LA area). It's also ultra thin, the kind of material that my mom scorns when she sees RTW clothes made from it.
Notions: None. Love working with stretchy fabric.
Techniques: Neckband installation, twin needle use
Hours: 1.5...would have been less if I didn't have to fiddle with getting the fit right. Seriously, once I have the block made, it takes about 20 minutes to sew.
Will you make this again? Yes. I could have a whole closet in all sorts of fun knits! 
Total cost: $2...much better than the $20 it would have cost at Forever 21 or H&M. I do feel slightly bad, though, for kinda buying into the disposable fashion look even in my me-made sewing...
Final thoughts: I mean, what else is there to say? This is probably the most trendy, RTW-looking thing I've made. It's not vintage-y at all in silhouette, fabric, or color -- I'm finally getting in on the neon-plus-neutral look that's so big right now. And it's nice to work with knits every once in a while and take a break from darts and seam finishing.

Look Ma, no darts!


And finally, giveaway winners!
Set #1: Megan (the one who wished I were her chemistry teacher, and I swear random.org wasn't biased)
Set #2: Disparate Disciplines
Set #3: Mommy to Maddex
Set #4: Pippi of Paper Yak

Congratulations! Please email me as soon as possible with your mailing address at cationdesignsblog at gmail dot com (if I don't hear from you by Tuesday night I will go ahead and pick new winners; I need to mail these out before we move!). And a big thank you to everyone for entering, reading my blog, and especially for the very kind comments...I had so many warm fuzzies reading them all! I was really touched to see how many people love geekery, bedsheet dresses, and Walnut.


*My first year teaching was right out of college, and I was only three years older than some of my students. I went to the local Target to pick up sunscreen and ran into some students while wearing a tank top and shorts leftover from San Diego summers...it was super uncomfortable trying to make small talk. If there's any chance of running into former students, I suit up accordingly.

47 comments:

  1. Beautiful dress. How hard way the twin neddle technique ?

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    1. Not difficult at all! Frankly, I was a little bummed that I'd waited that long to try it. It really makes things look more professional (or at least as much as is possible without a coverstitch machine).

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  2. Your dress looks really lovely.
    Thanks for the neck finishing link. I have the opposite sewing trend to you - I seem to make cake but never make frosting.

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    1. I think we all need a frosting/cake balance in our lives, whether that's through shopping or sewing! I do love the cake you make, though...it looks very clean and professional!

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  3. Nice dress, it looks great on you. Nice Princess Bride reference too.

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    1. Thanks! I love Princess Bride...it's so eminently quotable!

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  4. I love this. Aside from being so practical, it's darned cute!

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    1. I'm glad you think so! I think I need to get out of the rut of thinking that practical = boring. Practical can be cute, too!

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  5. Well that looks simply delicious, well done! How satisfying are knit projects, no seam finishing, few fitting issues, just sew and go. Love it. I love how simple this is, but still extremely flattering!

    strugglesewsastraightseam.wordpress.com

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    1. Seriously, I see why some people only sew knits! They are such a nice break from fitting and tailoring.

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  6. Everyone needs an easy-peasy knit dress to throw on. I would ditch the guilt about the RTW issue - sometimes a super fast project is just what the doctor ordered. Love the stripes and cut!

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    1. Thank you! And yes, sometimes a quickie project is totally necessary in between tricky fit projects! I'm working on ditching the guilt :)

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  7. Cute! and great job matching stripes! Your dress looks WAY better than most ready to wear simply because you lined up your stripes. Good use of the double needle, too! (Someday, I will buy myself a coverstitch machine, but until then, a double needle will have to do.)

    I've always said I can happily sew anything as long as I like the fabric, and your fabric is what makes it great! Cake sewing isn't so bad when the fabic is fun. =)

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    1. I think I could get used to cake as long as I'm clever about my fabric choices. I mean, real cake doesn't always have to be yellow cake flavored; maybe this cake-dress can be the equivalent of red velvet?

      I was in Forever 21 the other day and wanted to just sigh every time I saw another nautical striped shirt with mismatched stripes at the side seams, so I made extra sure that mine worked out!

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    1. Thanks! The funny thing is, IRL I prefer cake without frosting...

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  9. I have been a reader for a few months and just want to say I really enjoy seeing all your various projects. This dress really looks great on you and is inspiring to me because I am very hesitant to work with knits. Also kudos for actually wearing a slip! I am from the older generation when slips were required for any dress or skirt. Do you make slips? I love Walnut too.

    Barbara

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    1. Thank you for your kind words, Barbara! Knits are simultaneously extremely easy and deserving of their reputation for being temperamental; I think the key is the experiment and see what weights/settings/needles work best for your particular machine.

      My mom ingrained in me the necessity of slips, and having seen some of my contemporaries' panty-lines and such, I am totally in agreement with her! I have only made half-slips, because most of my dresses are lined in the bodice only. I would like to make some full slips, but in the meantime I have a few RTW ones that are tolerable.

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  10. Hmmm, comfy clothing that doesn't look like trackpants?! I'm totally stealing your idea.

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    1. Do it! This dress is soooo comfortable and looks more put together than trackpants...although I will confess that I love a good pair of sweats during the winter.

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  11. First of all, I adore this dress. I have some fabric that would be perfect for a dress like this, so I may be borrowing your idea soon. You look great in it!
    Second, I am so excited that I won one of your sets! I am completely thrilled and stoked to make all kinds of magical outfits. Thank you so incredibly much! Lastly, I had commented on the giveaway post that you had inspired me to make a dress of my own, and I finally made one! It was by no means perfect, but I love it regardless. So thank you, for being awesomely geeky, for making awesome dresses, and for being an inspiration to those of us scared to sew.

    -Jasmin

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    1. Thanks, and I hope you do make your own! It is really so easy.

      I'm excited to see what you do with the patterns! I'm glad that you found my blog inspirational!

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  12. Well done on the stripe matching, indeed!

    What's wrong with wearing a tank top and shorts at Target? I'm sorry, every-single-one wears those all day every day in these parts!

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    1. Heh...I know it's different in the tropics, but I felt really self-conscious showing so much skin in front of teenage boys whose respect I was supposed to win in the classroom. It was especially awkward because I was only a few years older than them, and parents already thought I looked too young.

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  13. Great dress!!!!!! Your stripe matching is admirable!! Go Cindy!

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    1. Stripe matching is so worth it! Thanks, Neeno!

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  14. such a cute dress! i've recently become addicted to knits myself because the fact is i will wear those items more often!

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    1. Thanks! Yes, I've had to come to terms with how much likelier knits are to be worn...*sniff* but all those lovely woven dresses!

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  15. This looks great! Thank you for this posting. I cant wait to try something like this and thank you for the neckband link that will be super helpful. Love your blog!

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    1. Thanks! I think that neckband tutorial is what gave me the courage to think I can make clean-looking knit clothing. I hope yours turns out well!

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  16. Yay, cake! I have a couple of knit dress ideas kicking around I need to actually get around to... but I have a head full of frosting right now. Ah, well.

    Don't you love it when sewing is faster than shopping? ;)

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    1. Sewing > shopping in so many ways! And I think my head is always full of frosting...

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  17. If you're going to follow the RTW trends, please make polka dot somethings or others, they're so in right now :3

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  18. Pretty! I am in awe of your stripe-matching skills :)
    P.S. I'm looking for recommendations for good fabric stores in SF, do you have any?

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    1. I haven't seriously shopped for fabric in the city for too long, but in my brief returns during vacations, I've liked the shops at the end of Clement street, up by 2nd or 3rd Avenue. I know Britex is supposed to be amazing, but expensive, and I've also heard rumors of an amazing discount warehouse in the Mission in a random dark basement, no joke. I'll scope things out this summer and post if I find anything amazing!

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  19. oh i LOVE it!!!! i would say that's icing masquerading as cake.

    i read a comment from a "fashionable granny" the other day (the website's phrase). one said "you must always dress, who knows who you'll meet along the way?" i love that.

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    1. Yes, every time I'm not dressed right, I inevitably run into someone whom I didn't want to see.

      Maybe this is one of those dresses where it's like a cake pop -- which is really just cake crumbs mixed into frosting?

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  20. It looks completely comfortable and fabulous! Bravo on the fantastic stripe matching - I love it paired with the belt!

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    1. My husband's comment on the belt: "Did you mean for it to fit in between the stripes?" Oh, boys. And yes, it is super comfortable!

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  21. Great basic dress. And *sigh*, I wish it was warm enough to wear a dress like this here.

    So, if I hate most frosting, but do like cake, is regular sewing like stir-fry? Something you actually need to eat on a regular basis? Where cake is something I eat less than once a month.

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    1. It may not be warm enough there right now, but at least The Hobbit is filming in your country? I'm not really sure that those are equivalent...

      You know, I've always kind of wondered that choice of terms, since like you, cake isn't really a staple of my diet.

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  22. I love this! Hmmm... need to invest in more stripes.

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