Christmas Mouse

So, when I was a kid, we has these AWESOME christmas mice. I remember having two of them, but most specifically, a Mrs. Clause mouse, handmade out of felt and full-on lace bonnet and frilly christmas dress ala 1980’s. She had bendable arms and legs just like those elf-on-a-shelf and I thought she was the coolest ornament on our tree for many years of my childhood. I particularly thought it’s tail was cool because it felt like a real mouse tail. (Our cat, Mittens often left us sad mice offerings on our doorstep…) I’m thinking the original looked more along these lines, but, the legs were long and slender with wire in them. We use to wrap the legs onto the tree branches to help her sit.

Anyway, I’ve emailed my Mom a few times about the famed Christmas mouse, but I haven’t been able to describe the mouse very well, and it’s probably buried in a box of ornaments somewhere random and inaccessible. So, I decided to try to make my own.

Attempt #1

She’s a lot more contemporary than I remember the original, and she’s made out of silk duppioni, not felt. I think her head is larger and her arms are smaller. I may have made her legs a bit long.

Walter really likes her. He said she likes to run.

I put the mouse IN the house, and Walter said, “Nooooo. ON the house.”

Did anybody out there have a christmas mouse as a kid, too?

Halloween 2011

Happy Halloween! We decided Walter would be a waffle this year in tribute to him learning to say his name. He called himself waffle for a few months. He’s worked it out by now and says Walter pretty well by now.

At every door we trick-or-treated at, the homeowner would say, “A waffle!”, and Walter would reply, “No, I’m Walter.” He’s so literal. 🙂

This costume was a little trickier than I thought it would be. Who knew a walrus would be easier than a waffle? Thank goodness Jonathan had some good ideas that made it easy for Walter to take on and off.

“Marching” in a “parade”.  Total chaos was more like it.

On actual Halloween Day, we added some syrup at Walter’s request. Yum.

(just a phone pic… sorry!)

The making of a waffle.

These are the only photos I took while I was making Walter’s Halloween costume. There were several requirements we had for his costume: It had to come on and off easily, so he felt in control of it, so as to avoid a meltdown. It had to be soft. It had to start with a “W”. (We’ve already done a Walrus and Wall-e costumes.)

Step 1. I had him lay down on some pattern paper, and I traced around him. This part was fun. Walter insisted I draw in his face and toes. A pattern-boy must have toes!

Step 2: Draw a circle in the size that looks proportionate to pattern-boy. I drew several after this photo was taken.

After this photo was taken, there was much debate about how to make the waffle 3-d, with the least amount of sewing needed.

3. I drew out my waffle grid on the pattern paper and cut it out

4. Lay out the pattern on the back (non-bumpy side) of an egg-crate foam, and trace it.

5. Cut out the inside, lower parts of the waffle.

6. (sorry, no more photos) I placed my foam sandwiched between two pieces of fleece and pinned the insides of every square shape, and stitched right at the edge of the foam using a one-sided zipper foot. Lastly, I stitched all the way around the edge, smoothing as I went along.

7. Apply syrup and butter to taste.

Here’s the finished product: https://jessicamay.wordpress.com/2011/10/31/halloween-2011/

Three baby deer!

They almost make mule-deer look cute!

In other random news, I made a cover for Walter’s swing. He’d freak out a little when it was covered in bird-doo, so I’m hoping this remedies that predicament. Ahh, wildlife!

Walter’s New Coat

It seems a little ridiculous that my little guy needs a coat in the middle of June. Utah weather can be so unpredictable. 

I made it on my birthday. I know. I was sewing on my birthday. The funny thing is, on any holiday, birthday, or special occasion, I gravitate towards the sewing room. It just feels RIGHT to me. I think it comes from a happy childhood tradition my family had of giving homemade gifts. Of course, homemade gifts can be the hardest things to give, as the inspiration and planning involved sometimes takes longer than making the actual gift itself. It’s all part of my anti-social love-language. Really. Thanks Jonathan, for not being offended that I wanted to spend part of my birthday holed up in the sewing room.  

Walter’s coat is made out of a pair of recycled linen Banana Republic pants, that weren’t quite working for Jonathan anymore. I lined the coat in the softest blue knit, and found the perfect amount of buttons out of my button jar. I love that the linen looks slightly rumpled, and the coat is just warm enough for late Spring. I think it might even fit him into the Fall – note his sleeves rolled up!

P.S. I’ve given up on getting Walter to look at the camera.

Yes, he’s mid-sign for milk in that first picture.

I love his serious, “Where’s my milk” face in this picture.

And then the next one: “Oh, car keys? Nevermind about the milk.”

New Shirt

I made a new shirt for Walter.

It totally kills me when Jonathan comes home with a sad explanation for how he got the stain on the sleeve of his brand new Banana Republic shirt…and this is the only way I can seem to make peace with the stain that I just could not get out.

Walter’s version sports some contrasting gray stitching and gray snaps instead of buttons.

Ralph was a willing model, as Walter’s already gone to bed. It seems that Ralph is not a size 12-18 month. Ha.

My favorite part is the little pocket on the diagonal.

Chair, You’re Ugly.

It all started with a rocking chair. I bought it from the neighbor for $50. Then, after I moved it into my house, the neighbor’s daughter said, “Oh, that’s the chair the dogs liked to sleep on.”

Ewe.  Don’t get me wrong, I love animals. I just don’t love a chair that un-bathed, outdoor animals have slept on. Again: ewie. So, off, came the fabric, off came the stuffing, and I found myself re-upholstering the rocker. My brother-in-law Dan, and my Husband even had to help me rip out some tacks and nails because the chair was so old… but I did it. I reupholsterd the ugly, dog-sleeping chair. and then I slipcovered it in ruffly goodness.  I had my very own ruffled chair.

And then I got pregnant.

And found out I was having a boy, and thought, wouldn’t it be nice if I had a rocker in the baby’s room. – an un-ruffly one?

And then I slipcovered it , again. I know. Nuts.

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And then I got this bright idea to re-cover my beloved couch. My perfectly good, unstained, wonderfuly comfy couch. All because the fabric didn’t seem soft enough. It took me a few months. and the neighbor’s staple gun to do it!

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And then, my husband decided he wanted new couches.

Ugg.

So, I’m selling my couch. Anyone want to buy my couch? $350 and it’s yours.

And now, I’ve moved on to a chair. I guess I actually like slipcovering furniture – it’s like a bride, who holds PERFECTLY still for all her fittings, and never gains or loses weight!

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I can’t wait to see what this one looks like when I’m done!

A Challenge

So, I’ve been reading lately on another blog about up-cycling men’s shirts into cute, cute little girl’s dresses… And thennnn I was reading on afriend’s blog, that she’s so excited to be having a girl, because it is more fun to sew clothes for little girls. Well. She’s totally right. That’s why I sew wedding dresses for a living. There’s a certain thrill out of creating a beautiful gown, and seeing a girl twirl in it….

however….

I have a cute – and I mean cute – little guy to clothe, and so I took it as a challenge to actually enjoy sewing something for him, inspired by the up-cycling.  Here’s what I came up with: one of Jonathan’s old shirts…

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It’s a little big right now, but Walter’s growing so fast.

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Moral of story, my friend Crystal is totally right. You just can’t beat the joy of sewing a little girl’s dress. And I hate hand-sewing on the snaps. I need to purchase a snap setter. But I did have fun seeing the end result on my little man. And I love the little bias-cut pocket.

Fairy Godmother

My Best Friend’s daughter turned three! On the top of her request list for her Fairy Godmother (me!) was a Snow White dress….. Here’s some photos from her party:

And the beautiful Princess Heidi (aka Obi-Jo) with Snow White.

Here are some other Princesses in attendance: Ariel, Jasmine, Snow White, Cinderella and Belle.

Heidi does such a great job planning her kid’s birthday parties. They read princess stories, made princess bracelets, had princess music, princess movies, princess hats, princess ribbon wands, princess cake…. It was Princess, Princess, Princess Mania!

For more princess photos, go here.

Swim, Princess, Swim

My favorite part of this mermaid costume is the little fishy on the bust. Ooh,ooh, and the glitter! 

I know a big bow in the back is sooo not practical for being a mermaid, but every princess dress needs a big bow of some kind!

Dress for Me!

I started draping a new dress for myself last night – Draping is more fun than I remember it being in school!  Now if only I looked as good as my dressform…

It’s a pale pale pink cotton gauze with a rib in it… She’ll have a side zipper and I’m desperately looking for a brown or cream woven belt that will fit at my natural waist. Should I line it or leave it gauze-y and make an under slip who-sy that’s a separate peice? Puff (subtle) or flat cap sleeves? Leave me a comment with your opinion!

 

More Princess Dresses

So I’m totally on a kick to use up scrap fabric. Fabric is CLUTTERING MY LIFE! So, more dresses for the princess addict.

An everyday princess dress:

Sorry about the horrible lighting in the photos… This dress is scrap from my stretchy yoga pants, and some thin purple satin for the sash.

And an on-duty princess dress:

This one has a mesh knit overlay and bell sleeves that are gathered at the wrist ala Jasmine in Aladdin. I need some kind of gold and purple medallion for the center front bodice waistline where the skirt splits… I’m hoping to find a shiny 80’s button for this. It also has a circle skirt, which I haven’t done in a long time. Not too many wedding gowns with circle skirts these days….

 

 

Off-duty Princess Dress

So, I have a friend whose daughter is on a serious princess kick. I mean serious, like how I am seriously addicted to Coca-Cola. She would wear the same Cinderella dress every day if she could.

I decided she need an off-duty princess dress. (Made from scrap from the last shirt I made for myself.) We will see if she approves:

I’m still looking for the perfect button for the keyhole closure on the back neck.

 

I forgot I like sewing

I’ve been so busy sewing wedding gowns lately, I haven’t made anything for myself in a while.

Washed silk duppioni gathered on the front neckline, raglan puff sleeves, with gathers at the waistline. Topstitching details and raw-edged knit.

I think it fits me better than the dress form, so I took a picture of myself in a mirror. (Everything is covered in remodel dust right now, so don’t mind the haze on the photo.)

Crazy Impromtu Dress

While at a friends house, my ADD kicked in and amidst three other projects, I decided to sew a dress. There was just enough fabric to put together this little number:
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I love all the different textures in this next photo.

And isn’t her expression great!
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My expectant friend’s bambino is causing bursting buttons on her belly! (try saying that 5 times fast) Man she makes cute kids. Can’t wait to see what this next one looks like!
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Website

Hurray! Hurray!

My website for my Jessica May Bridal is almost done! Here’s a sneak peek!

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I am hoping to have everything up and running sometime in February!

Show me your guts.

A new dress for me! Yippee. I thought I’d pay homage to a professor of mine (from college almost ten years ago!), who always said the inside should look as pretty as the outside. (Was she talking about people or dresses? I can’t remember…) Anyway, I can’t imagine wearing my new dress inside out, but here are some photos for fun:

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Tan embroidered linen, lined in baby blue acetate.

Greek Embroidery

One is by hand, one is machine embroidered for my Cousins in GA…. Can you tell which one is the original? I’m heading out tomorrow to look for blue thread that matches better.

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Sewing Room!

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Finally! Just a few things to point out… I am having a little cubby built like this one to go under the windowsill for my fabric scraps. And yes, my room is in the basement, with a lovely view of the silver window well wall retainer. The floor is concrete with an 8′ x 10′ area rug – this works out great for clean up, but I am dying to have a cork floor someday. My sewing table is very low to the ground. I am only 5’1″ and this helps with ergonomics for me. Sorry no color photos, but it just looked better in sepia! Feel free to leave me comments if you have any questions about anything in my room.

Distracted by the pants

Soooo. While working on the Anthropologie dress today, I was a little distracted by a pair of pants. They were given to me by a friend, but they didn’t fit correctly and were a little too short to justify all of the typical pant alterations that they would have needed. I’ve never been a big fan of the whole “turn your jeans into a skirt” movement. I’ve always found them to be a bit sloppy for my taste, but as these pants started out as trousers in a lightweight pinstripe denim, I decided to give it a go. Oh, and I never realized how hard it would be to take a photo of the back side of myself in a mirror…. who knew? The photos came out a little dark. Sorry.new-skirt2.jpg

It’s in the wash

Sewing room photos will have to wait until I am done unpacking from my trip. I’ve been washing vintage textiles for the past two days, so while the fabrics are soaking I made myself busy test sewing this Anthropologie inspired embroidery. It was hand digitized by me, and doesn’t exactly match the original, but I think it’s close enough to give the dress sew-up a go after seeing the sew out. Here’s the original and my version. 91307-anth.jpg

I think I will do another test sew-out in a darker thread, maybe a navy and on a cotton batiste. The test I did was on a cotton gauze with a striped pattern in it. (Similar to my cotton gauze shirt, but in pale pink. ) The test thread is two different rayon Sulky threads, a purple and a pink. On the gauze, the single thread was too thin, but I think on the batiste I will stick to one darker thread. I may also go more natural waist instead of empire. It’s more flattering on me. We will see. I’ll post the dress when it’s done.

Preview of the Sewing Room

Here’s a preview of the sewing room pictures that I know you are dying to see… sewing room

The framed pattern is significant – it was the first hand drafted pattern I made in school. It no longer fits me, so I thought it looked better in a frame. Design school was nine years ago. Wholey – moley.

I’m taking a break from wedding gowns probably for a month or so. (I already have a few clients booked for November events.) At first the time off was supposed to be to start the remodel on the house, but my Grandmother (the one I spoke of in my first post) passed away. So, I will be flying yonder to far-off places to pay respect. That’s why you only get a preview of the sewing room post. I will write when I get back unless something madly exciting happens during my trip, and I happen to have internet.

Head and Toes

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Oh my stinkin’ cute! I’ve been so busy lately sewing wedding gowns. I took a break earlier this week to see a friend of mine who is also a photographer… She mentioned that it would be nice to have some cute hats on hand for children’s photo shoots. Yes, I made a hat, but I got thoroughly distracted by these booties. Both are self-drafted patterns. I have no idea what size the booties would be, but I’m off to test them on another friends baby this weekend. (I hope.) Um. Also – I love my embroidery machine! I don’t use it enough. I wish I had more time to digitize. It’s been a nice change to sew these tiny little things as opposed to the voluminous skirt on a wedding dress… Back to the basement I go. I will have to post photos of my sewing room for my next entry. There. I’ve committed now!

Summer Gauze Shirt

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So, on Saturday I had the nicest talk with my neighbor and friend. She asked me why I didn’t make more clothing for myself, and the only conclusion I could really come to was: time. I get so busy with my bridal business, that I don’t take the time to really enjoy making my own clothing. So, on Sunday, I decided to make myself this shirt (since I don’t work for clients on Sunday.) It is inspired by the top on the left, but the material is very different. You may be looking at my inspiration photos and be thinking, “that doesn’t look like the other one…”, but that’s just it – the idea isn’t to knock off another design, it’s just inspiration. I like the look and feeling of the shirt on the left. It looks soft and delicate. My fabric was soft and lightweight. The left top has insertions in the yoke, my does too, but in a different pattern. I passed on the long sleeves and puff sleeve cap because it was hot outside, and I couldn’t think about long sleeves, and frankly, I wasn’t in the mood for a puff sleeve. So you see; inspiration. A cool little detail that may not be noticeable (due to my awful photo-taking skills) is that a side dart is built into the yoke seam… which I also moved lower than the original. This may not be noticeable at all in a solid fabric, but the stripe shows it off rather well. (It appears as if the yoke is curving down towards the side seams.) Very exciting, I know.

UFO

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To those of you non- sewing people out there, UFO means unfinished object. This wheat-colored dress is inspired by the one on the left. A few modifications were made to the cross-front neckline, to make it a little less scandelous (more cleave-coverage), and it is in a heavy cotton knit instead of the (I’m assuming) charmuese that the original is made of. And of course the new version is a boring color. I reserve all of my stlye courage for my clients, and stick to the most blah color pallette imaginable for myself. (We all have our own personal stlye mis-steps don’t we?) It is waiting for sleeves, a hem and a little tweak on the neckline area…. But alas I am busy busy busy sewing wedding gowns and bridal party ensembles. I hope to squeeze in this UFO before Saturday so I can wear it out to dinner. We will see.

Paisley!

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A new dress for my friend’s daughter! I think this will look even prettier in silk and maybe with long pants underneath – with a ruffle at the hem of course. This dress is a very lightweight cotton / poly blend. I am so glad I have children to sew for in a size that finally fits my “child-sized” dress form. The form has a huge neck!! How odd.

About Me

Contact me at jesmaydesigns (at) yahoo (dot) com.

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Hello! My name is Jessica Law. I design wedding gowns and bridal party attire. You can see my portfolio for those here : jessicamaybridal.wordpress.com 

I have an extreme passion for formal wear. Ever since I was little, I wanted to design “dresses” like the beautiful green lady in New York (aka the Statue of Liberty). My Grandmother passed down a love of textiles and buttons, and I learned to sew my first dress when I was twelve. In high school, I sewed clothing for myself for formal dances, and dabbled in alterations. I learned so much about clothing construction by taking apart old vintage pieces and sewing them back together.

I went on to fashion design school, and spent literally days straight in the sewing labs (usually not my classmates favorite place). I have a great appreciation for patternmaking, and I have recently been interested in wardrobe planning. Besides my business, I focus on sewing the random what-not for myself, my friends, and the occasional canine in my spare time. (My husband has only endured one Halloween costume thus far.)

The purpose of this blog is mainly to post photos of my non-bridal creations and as another creative way to express myself. Feel free to ask me questions about my projects or whatever you heart yearns to know about textiles, general sewing or bridal fashion.

Thanks for stopping by!

Jessica

 

 

6.4.08 Time for an update!:

So, yep, I’m a seamstress. Love it, love it, love it. There’s one thing I love almost as much as sewing: photography!!! I’ve been apprenticing for quite some time now, and I’ll be ready to launch my photo website soon. So stay posted, and please don’t send me comments on my blog that it’s too sewing related or there’s too many photos… that’s just who I am! Isn’t ADD fabulous?

Thanks for reading me!

Heart Jes