Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Butterick Sale = More Patterns

So.... I bought some more patterns over the weekend. There was a .99 sale at JoAnn on Butterick patterns, and at the thrift store, I found that Simplicity pattern for .25. It'll be a great basic pattern I can use to base new dresses on.

I think I have a problem. I currently own more patterns than I think I'll be able to sew up in the next five years. Cutting back would be a good idea, but in a way that encourages creativity and productivity. Hmm...

I'm thinking out loud here... I could only buy new patterns (one at a time) if I have an idea for them already (like they're included in my SWAP). Or I can buy a new pattern for every three old patterns I stitch up. Looking through my stash, there are quite a few beautiful vintage patterns that just aren't quite my style or that won't look good on someone as A/pear-shaped as me. I'm thinking a giveaway might be in order. I haven't done one of those yet! Check back next week. I'll have something beautiful for someone. :)

Monday, November 28, 2011

Another Gift in the Works

Last year, I bought fabric to make a little clutch for my best friend for Christmas. I never did anything with the stuff, and I feel like a terrible friend, even though she doesn't know that I slacked off because it's not like you tell your friend, "I was going to make you this adorable little clutch, but I'm a huge procrastinator and didn't even cut the fabric, so here's a consolation gift." :)

Anyway, this year, I'm making her a clutch out of those fabrics (the multi-colored fabric for the outside and the brown and turquoise fabric for the lining). I bought a zipper to match, and I dug through my inheritance from my grandma to find perfectly matching thread too (have I ever mentioned that I inherited my grandma's old sewing supplies? I'll have to post about them at some point.).

I'm using the adorable "Tied with a Bow" Pouch Tutorial by Mommy by Day... Crafter by Night. It's so easy, and so cute!

But I'm changing the pouch up a bit. Instead of making it 9" tall by 7" wide, I'm making it 5 1/2" tall by 9" wide. It'll look more like this: 

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Infinity Scarf - Completed!

I finished my sister's scarf! I talked about it in a post a couple weeks ago. I ran out of yarn when I was about three inches from the end, so I had to go out and get more of this expensive stuff, but it was worth it. It's beautiful. I looked up how to join seams together online, twisted the scarf so it would be a twisted loop, then joined the ends. Can you see the join? It's almost invisible on the right side, and it looks so clean on the wrong side. Love.

She'll be able to wear it just tossed over her head if she wants, or she can twist it around twice and wear it in what looks like a very complicated knot around her neck. I didn't get a photo of it long (well, I did, but Blogger and Picnik aren't playing well together, and it will only publish sideways, so I'm sorry, but you'll just have to imagine the beautiful long knit loop. When it's on, the bottom hits at about my belly button). Since it's a gift that hasn't been given, I can't really take a picture of it on my sister yet, so here's a photo of it on me.

I kind of want to keep it.

And a close-up. Can you see that I alternated knit and purl stitches in the same row? It makes it so that the scarf is super stretchy and twice as thick, another thing that I love about it.

Do I really have to give this one away? I suppose I do. It'll keep my little California sister warm in this cold Michigan winter. That's love, people.

Monday, November 21, 2011

New Sewing Machine

In October of 2008, I borrowed one of my mom's sewing machines. She took it back once in a while when she needed to make a button hole, but for the most part, her other four machines did what she needed (she owns her own business making custom window treatments, pillows, etc.), and that machine was effectively a semi-permanent loan. I kept thinking she would get me a machine of my own for Christmas or my birthday, but then a couple weeks ago, my grandma Dean (my mom's stepmother) gave my mom my grandfather's sewing machine for me, and I picked it up on Saturday. I'm so excited to have a sewing machine of my own, and one that (albeit briefly) belonged to my grandfather before he died.

 (this is a photo from the Singer website)

It's a Singer Simple, and it really is a simple little machine. Everything is mechanical, which I love. I'm not at all into all that computerized stuff. I'm too afraid that something will break and no one will be able to figure out how to fix it. Ugh. The click of a wheel locking into place is much more satisfying. It does have an automatic needle threader, which my mom's machine didn't have, so I'm really curious about how that works. So excited to try it out! Also, that invisible zipper foot that I bought for my mom's machine fits this one! Yay!

Now all I need is to find a manual for it somewhere...

Friday, November 18, 2011

Pinterest Parade #5 (plus a new pattern!)

This post and my pins this week are inspired by Kendi and her 30 x 30 challenge (if you haven't heard of it yet, get over there and check it out! She chooses 30 items of clothing to remix into outfits for 30 days). I've been bemoaning the fact that I don't have much clothing, when really, I don't need much more than I have. I need pieces that work together and that pull together the pieces I already have. Kendi just did this for Fossil, and the result was inspiring and beautiful.

The pieces in Orla Keily's Spring 2011 collection work together and create a cohesive unit. this is what I want my closet to look like! 

I know a lot of vintage gals are mad at Banana Republic for hopping onto vintage style and commercializing it, but I love their Mad Men collection and the way the pieces work together. I'm only mad at Banana because most of their clothing doesn't fit my body shape.

I'm sure everyone has seen the Lucky Dozen, but this is definitely an inspiration to create a wearable wardrobe. Seriously, every single one of those outfits is different. All I would do to change it up is make those gray slacks into a pencil skirt and get a color other than orange for the sweater. Orange is bad that close to my face. Bad.

Now this wardrobe is one I could get behind. I love nearly every piece in it, in nearly every color. Again, I'd change out the slacks because I really don't like to wear pants that much, and I'd switch out the shoes for similar but more feminine versions (a couple pairs of heels), but the rest is really kind of perfect. *daydreams*

In other happy news, I got one of the patterns I'll be using for the 2012 SWAP! It's vintage Butterick 4042, a 70s (I think) blouse pattern. I'll be making Version A (the long-sleeved one at the top) in my two sheer fabrics. I bought this pattern from an Etsy shop called Sew Betty and Dot, and I'm beyond happy with Sherri (the seller). She let me know the status of my shipment, she shipped quickly, and when I got the package, the pattern had a ribbon tied around it and she included a sweet little hand-sewn envelope with a hand-written note, a vintage playing card (which she uses as her business card), and a little tag with a miniature doily on it. It was like getting a present in the mail instead of something I'd purchased myself. I have most of my patterns now, so it's time to start tracing and fitting patterns so I can have a shot at finishing this SWAP!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Navy and White Ginger: Completed!

If you've been reading my blog, you're probably thinking, "Oh, she must have gotten that invisible zipper foot she's been harping about and finally stopped procrastinating." You're right, sort of. I did get that invisible zipper foot. It doesn't fit on my machine. So I didn't actually use it. I hunted around for another one online but failed to find one that said it specifically worked with my model of Singer machine, so I got out a needle and put in the zipper by hand. Actually, I think it may have turned out better than it would have if I'd done it by machine. It looks like just a seam to me. Can you see the zipper? (I feel like it's a Where's Waldo drawing, except with my back end. Maybe you shouldn't look too closely.)

And the front view. Also, this is my deck. I obviously need to do a little more work outside before winter hits. But isn't my skirt cute?!

I used store-bought bias binding to finish all of the seams, including the seam the zipper's in. My stitching isn't perfectly straight, but I'm learning. I did discover that it's easier to keep it straight if I'm using a zipper foot, oddly enough, so the seam finishing on the back seam is straighter than this photo, but I was already wearing the skirt when I took it, which would have made getting a photo of the back seam super awkward (and revealing), so y'all will have to admire the almost-straight stitching of my side seams. :)

Pattern Description: Colette Patterns Ginger, Version 2

Pattern Sizing: Size 4 in the waist to size 10 in the hips. Yes, I span that many sizes.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow? I'm a sewing novice, and these instructions were perfect. Everything was so thorough, and if I didn't understand something immediately, there was a glossary in the back of the instruction booklet, and notes directing sewers to the Colette tutorials online.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? I love everything! The fit is perfect, and it's such a great TNT pattern.

Fabric Used: Navy and white cotton

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made: I removed the front seam so I wouldn't have to match the pattern and so it would lie flat (I made Version 3 in pink and gray - which I will post when that zipper is in - and had to adjust the front pieces to remove the bubble in the belly). I also smoothed out the side seams at the hip, since my hips are lower than the pattern and it made me look a bit like an Oompa Loompa. No photos of that. :) I lengthened the pattern about an inch so it would hit just below the knee.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others? I've already got the pink and gray version 3 in the works, and I will sew this pattern over and over. If you haven't sewn it yet, do it! I  know you can get a Simplicity A-line skirt pattern for 99 cents on sale, but the extra cash is totally worth it for this beautiful pattern. I hope I'm getting more Colette patterns for Christmas this year!

Conclusion: I love this skirt. Love. It's so flattering and comfy (snug, but not so tight it's cutting into me), I would wear it every day if I could. I'll make a million more. Also, I just realized, as I'm sitting here typing this in my new skirt, that the outfit I'm wearing looks absurdly similar to a dress I was inspired by back in August. I got the nude shoes I wanted, too! I feel like I should have posed like the model with my gray handbag, just to compare. :)

Monday, November 14, 2011

Stitcher's Guild SWAP 2012

Last week, in my excitement about my new discovery of the Stitcher's Guild and their annual SWAP, I posted a non-MWF post. :) After lots of debating, I've come up with a pretty solid plan for the items I'll be including in my SWAP.

What's on here?

2 skirts - the Colette Ginger in navy and white cotton (1), and a self-drafted skirt with inverted box pleats, which I'll be stitching up in gray with a panel of pink along the bottom (6)
3 dresses - the sheath, vintage Butterick 2434 in wool that's much redder than it looks in the photo (2), the sundress, vintage Simplicity 3562 in embroidered white cotton (7), and the everyday dress, Simplicity 2145 in a printed rayon (10)
2 "overshirts" - vintage Butterick 4042 in sheer rose and blue and white dot polyesters (I know poly is the devil, but I couldn't resist!) (3 & 4)
1 t-shirt - Colette Jasmine in this gorgeous Spoonflower fabric (Bubbles by Kristopher K), cotton silk (I know it's absurdly expensive, but again, I can't resist! I've been ogling this fabric forever!) (5)
2 blouses - Burda 5/2011 in pink cotton, which I'll be taking Gertie's Bombshell class for (8), and vintage Simplicity 3520 in white cotton (9)
1 rain coat - Sewaholic Minoru in red - so excited about this one! (11)

As you can see, I don't yet have the fabrics for four of my items (the Jasmine, the self-drafted skirt, the vintage blouse, and the rain coat), but I'd say that's doing pretty well. I feel like all of these patterns are patterns I'll be able to use over and over again, modifying them so that each iteration is different from the ones that came before. I just need to get the rest of my fabrics and buy a bolt of muslin so I can start working on fitting.

Is anyone else participating in this year's SWAP?

Friday, November 11, 2011

Pinterest Parade #4 - Warm for the Winter

Prepare yourself for a super photo-heavy post. This week's Pinterest Parade is much longer than usual; the snow has inspired me to find ways to stay warm! Prepare for a lot of black/gray, and just imagine these outfits with shades of blue, pink, and red added to all the neutrals.

I love this sweater/cape/shawl thing over the detailed skirt. Toss in some color, and I'd wear it every day!

I love the silhouette of this outfit, with the fitted sweater and the flared skirt. Beautiful.

Hat, sweater, corduroy skirt, tights, and boots. Perfect. I must get some tights for this winter!

You remember my post about finding/making the perfect winter coat? Well, I've found it. Just look at the beautiful silhouette and those gorgeous dramatic sleeves!

Layers. This tulle skirt would be beautiful and warm over a fleece, flannel, or wool skirt, and she's layering on top too. I would need some tights, though.

This outfit is similar in feel to the one above it, but she's wearing a scarf, tights, and boots. Again, another layer under this dress, and it would be perfect. I might need to make myself some full slips out of silk for this purpose.

The person who pinned this one first wrote that you could make it out of a scarf stitched together, and it looks like that's what it is. It also looks super cute and warm!

The last and potentially warmest of our options is this sweater dress. At least, I think it's sweater material. It certainly looks cozy!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

What to do?!

Extra post!

While cruising the blogs in my reader yesterday, I found this post by Robin at A Little Sewing. I immediately followed her link to the Stitchers Guild sewing discussion forum and have been absorbed in planning ever since.

The Stitchers Guild has an annual SWAP (Sewing With a Plan), in which all participants stitch up garments according to the year's rules. This year's rules seem to have been written with me in mind. :) You have to choose any seven garments from a given list (blouse or shirt, dress, jeans, skirt, jacket, etc.), then choose four of the seven to make twice for a total of 11 garments. It's all about fitting, and creating tried-and-true patterns that you'll be able to use again and again, and I'm so excited! It'll fit in with the Fall Palette challenge, because I'm using the same palette, so I'll be able to move smoothly from one challenge to the next.

I've got my plan pretty well fleshed out, but I have a couple of things still to figure out before I share it all. There's one big decision I can't seem to make. Remember the gorgeous rayon print I just bought? Here it is again, if you forgot it (the one on the left):

The fabric has a great hand and lots of movement, but I'm so in love with it that I don't know what to do with it! I've narrowed it down to four possibilities.

Simplicity 2145

 Sewaholic Lonsdale

Colette Crepe

Colette Chantilly

What would you do with this fabric?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Knitting, or Gifts for Other People

I didn't get my invisible zipper foot, but when I got home from work on Monday, there was a happy little package waiting for me.

They're US size 17 (12mm) knitting needles! Did I mentione that I knit too?

I knitted myself a scarf last year, and my little sister started bugging me about it. "When are you going to make me a scarf, Abby?" She's turning 25 next month. :) She was still bugging me about the scarf when I saw her last week, but she has no idea that I've actually started it and intend it to be her Christmas gift. I went to a cute little specialty store downtown and bought the most luxurious merino wool I could find. It's beautiful to work with and so soft, and the colors are gorgeous too. It's every shade of gray you could imagine seeing in the winter, from the pale color of snow on a moonlit midnight to dusky blue, deep purple, and the ash of a cold fire (when I was in high school, I thought I was a poet). The yarn suggested size 13-17 needles, so I thought 15 would be good, but once I started, I realized I wanted it to be a little chunkier than it was. And none of the stores around here sell bigger needles! Argh!

Etsy to the rescue! I started knitting the scarf on Monday night as soon as I opened the package, and yesterday afternoon, I had a decent bit done. The lighting in my office is surprisingly really good. It might have something to do with the giant windows right behind my desk. Maybe. :) Even this lighting can't do these colors justice, though. Anyway, I'm knitting this by alternating one knit stitch and one purl stitch. It looks exactly the same on both sides and it's also extra thick and plush, because the purls get pulled back, which makes it almost double layered. I'm also going to join the ends together to make it into an infinity scarf. Uber-chic, you know?

Just so you have an idea of exactly how large these needles are, they're about as thick as my forefinger. Craziness!

Monday, November 7, 2011

Sunday Night Productivity - Hemming Jeans and Sewing Skirts

I got slightly over an hour to sew last night, and for once I feel like I really made the most of it. I hemmed A's jeans, and it was a bit of an experiment, because I'd never hemmed jeans before, let alone sewn denim! There are a lot of "how to hem jeans" tutorials out there, and they all seem to say pretty much the same thing, but the easiest to follow in my opinion is this one. You're not supposed to take the original hem into account, so I'm a little afraid that the math doesn't quite add up and the jeans will still be too long (by however long the original hem is, so, like, a half inch). We'll see. She's coming home on Thursday, so I can report back after I make her try them on. :) If they do fit, I'll tack up the hem and call it good. Yay! And then I can be a hemming fiend and buy whatever jeans I want and just take them up. It literally took me half an hour, and it was my first time, so I don't see it being a lengthy project ever.

My pink Ginger (version 3) is sitting on my sewing table in a lovely little folded pile of shell, lining, and zipper, just waiting for my invisible zipper foot to arrive. Right next to it is my second Ginger (version 2), which is what I decided to do with that gorgeous heavy navy and white cotton fabric that I posted about last month. It's in a second lovely folded pile of shell, waistband facing, and zipper, again, just waiting for that invisible zipper foot to arrive. The day I get that thing, I'm going to hole up in my sewing room for an hour and finish both skirts, then I'm going to celebrate by taking photos of both of them and posting them and possibly doing a celebratory I'm-not-really-a-total-slacker-and-I-can-finish-things dance. :)

That will make my total items for the Colette Fall Palette Challenge three. Woohoo! Well, after I tear out the wonky hem on my circle skirt and re-hem it. Maybe I'll do that tonight. Unless I get my invisible zipper foot. If that happens, all bets are off!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Glitches and Sewing Productivity (or lack thereof)

So, I've run into a minor glitch. I've gotten the Ginger almost all the way to completion. All it needs is to get the zipper inserted, the top stitched, and the bottom hemmed. I bought an invisible zipper for my pink Ginger skirt, but...I don't have an invisible zipper foot. Definitely a glitch. I just bought one on Amazon, but since Amazon's not the company shipping it, I have no clue when it'll actually get here. What do I do in the meantime? Mmmm.... start another Ginger? Haha. Maybe by the time I get that zipper foot, I'll have two skirts ready for zippers!

I did promise to write about my sewing productivity. Well, I didn't track it super carefully, but I did take note of how I spend my time every day, when I'm not in the office, cooking, or doing chores. I spend most of my time with my dogs, my partner, or my friends. I hula hoop every Thursday for an hour and a half. I also spend a lot of time reading. I sewed for about 5 hours on Sunday, and then one hour on Tuesday and Wednesday, which is a grand total of 7. And did I manage to finish this skirt in those 7 hours, you wonder? Nope. Because I have glitches, and also because I'm slow, and also because I multitask and watch Project Runway, Once Upon a Time, and Pan Am while sewing, which slows me down like crazy. Not a very productive 7 hours!

Hopefully, I'll have something gorgeous to show you next week!