Monday, September 2, 2013

Kicking Off Operation Project $0 with CathGrace

OMG - I am doing my very first series on my blog!!!!  Well, I mean this is technically the 2nd year, but last year I think I had 5 followers, and no amazing guest posts to share, and I was really just making it all up as I went along.  This year is going to be SOOOOOOOO much cooler!  And to kick things off in style, I have my dear blogging friend Catherine of CathGrace here to share her Project $0 outfit.  
I have been following CathGrace since very early in my discovery of 'sewing blogs' about a year and a half ago.  I was then humbled to get to compete along side her in Project Run and Play's Season 6... and somehow I found myself with her in the final three.  Catherine has the most impeccable sewing skills I have ever seen, her attention to detail is sublime, and somehow she achieves the best fit in children/tween clothing.  She honestly is one of those people who I can say has inspired me to become a better seamstress!
Over the next month I will be sharing my creations and all the amazing stylings of this line up of ladies:

If you are new to the blog and want to know more about Operation Project $0, You can check out the Origins HERE and the intro to OPO 2013 HERE.
And here is Catherine to share both her beautiful creation and model with us today....

I am so excited to be here today for Operation $0, thank you so much Suzanne for inviting me!!! About 99% of the time, I sew out of my stash rather than buying anything new for a project, since I tend to buy fabric as I find it on sale, rather than waiting to have something specific in mind (my stash pretty much rivals most fabric stores, some people may say I have a problem.......) so this series was right up my alley! My daughter Emmie has been asking for a new dress for a little while, in an Anthropologie "style" (since she is a tween and has gotten all opinionated :) ) and I decided that this series was a great way to kill two birds with one stone! Here's the dress she settled on for inspiration,
and here's my Operation $0 offering, Emmie's Anthro-ish Dress,
I used 2 yards of navy and cream striped, cotton fabric for the outer body of the dress, and 2 yards of a plain cream, cotton fabric for the lining.  The cream was originally intended for a quilt from a couple of years ago that I still haven't gotten around to, and the navy and cream stripe was just an "I like it and will find a use for it purchase" from a quilt shop. The main reason I stash sew here in Korea, is because I am about 1.5 hours from a fabric store, so I keep 20-30 zips on hand, a huge box of buttons, etc. because if I need something to finish a project, I can't just run out and get it at Joann's. 
I begin every project just looking through all my fabric, then finding what I have that will all work together from findings to trim, and that's what I can make right then. It's pretty impossible to buy for a single project here from beginning to end, the fabric markets aren't set up like that, you will never find the same fabric again later if you don't buy it as you see it, so you just buy usable yardages of things as you like it, with the hopes that you will find something to do with it later! 

 The bodice is made from my own block that I made for Emmie off of her measurements, and then refined in a fitting, with 2 darts in the front, and 2 darts in the back. I changed from the original Anthropologie dresses shape here, since I wanted to make it more child friendly; I widened the straps, and raised the neckline. Emmie is also not super into sashes, as in she REALLY doesn't like them at all, so we went with a leather belt instead.
 There is a cream hidden zipper in the side, that was a 22" zip from my stash, I just cut it down to length.
I tried to line up all of my stripes through all of my seams and darts, and I even tried to gather the skirt blue stripe to blue stripe, so that the pattern stayed visually uninterrupted. 
 Emmie always feels fancy when I sew a label into her handmade clothes; I guess they feel more real to her then! I sewed the label to her lining before sewing it to the dress, so that the stitching didn't show through the back of the dress. As a side note, I try to always mark my clothes for size so that I don't have to try to remember later what fits, and I can pass things on to others more easily (when I am custom making something, I tend to mark it with the size I know she is in store bought clothes, Emmie is a 12-14 right now, so I just put 13 as an estimate)
The whole dress is lined in the cream cotton, I loose lined the skirt so that it acts as a petticoat, and the fully lined bodice makes the cream stripe more opaque! The lining skirt is about an inch and a quarter shorted than the outer fabric skirt, so that it never peeks out the bottom of her dress.
I'm pretty sure Emmie felt fancy in her new dress, she was determined to borrow a red belt and a pair of red heels from me (since we wear the same shoe size) but I was able to get her to settle on something more child appropriate :)
 The belt was mine from 100 years ago at Target, and I just had my husband punch an extra hole in it so that it fit her! There's a hook and eye at the top of the zip to take the tension off the zip (and I have the zip starting about an inch below the armhole, Emmie was worried about zipping her underarm skin into the zip, and that alleviated her concerns!)
 Emmie pretty much felt like a movie star, with the addition of her new prescription sunglasses, I think we are going to struggle to get her to dress in jeans and a t-shirt again after this! (getting *fancy* water on your photo-shoot break is a CLEAR sign she's a movie star right?)
 Emmie loves dresses as everyday wear, and I think that although this dress looks more dressy, the cotton fabric will make it easily washable, and she won't have to think twice about romping about in it!
 (And of course in a dress this posh, we had to do a country club photo shoot right? I just want you to know we were chased off the golf course shortly after this picture was taken :) )
Thanks again Suzanne for having me, it was fun to get a dress that looked this expensive for no money out of my pocket!
Didn't I tell you!!! Amazing - look at those stripes all matching and the DARTS.... squee.  I'm now thinking baby girl needs a dress like this... I think I just realized that all of these guest posts are going to seriously lengthen my 'to sew' list ;op  Thank you again Catherine for joining in on this Operation.  And I hope all of the rest of you will be back tomorrow to see some of my own creations!
Don't forget to add your images to the Flickr Group 
so that I can see what you can do with $0!!!


  1. This is just GORGEOUS! I would so wear this!

  2. Love it! Your daughter looks very happy with it too. I hope my daughter is as cooperative when I try to get some shots of my outfit tomorrow :/

    1. Thanks! Poor miss Emmie gets photographed so much, I have to tell her to not fake smile she's so used to it!

  3. Beautiful! I want one for myself....

  4. The dress is gorgeous. Love the yellowish belt as a pop of color. And as usual, amazing workmanship!

  5. Thanks again for having me Suzanne, I had a fun time coming up with a project for this series!!!

  6. Beautiful! I want one too, but still very tween appropriate :)

  7. Super great idea...being raise by a prudent - depression era Momma - I love these kind of projects. Your stash sounds like my mother's fabric closets. I cut out my Project $0 jacket yesterday. Here's hoping it looks great. Thanks for the inspiration Catherine...Emmie's dress is classic.

  8. Wow! Great job, I really aspire to have such amazing sewing skills one day!!

  9. So stunning! Great accessories, she is so cute in her sunglasses. Gorgeous photos, too!

  10. I always get so impressed by Cath's creations. It's amazing all the effort she always puts into her works, and how perfect they always look. Congratulations!