Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Happy Holidays!

I was my own little sweatshop the last few weeks, making a ton of Christmas presents. Including these 8 pyjamas, for my family. (We are creating our own Von Trapp moment.)

Although not visible in this picture, the plaid lines actually match up. I'm very impressed with myself.

Another one...

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Major Pattern Surgery Part 4 - and a plea for help!

The dress - it is done! I shortened the sleeves, re-did the inverted pleats, and added facings.

Here are pics...

Front - one look

Front - another look


Plea for help:

Dear Internet Readers - if there ever was a time to de-lurk, it is now! I implore you, tell me what you think. (And forward it on to all your friends, and make them tell me too...) For the record, my parents like it (they aren't an impartial audience though), and my brother, aka the photographer, thinks there's something wrong with it, but can't figure out what it is.

Please, please, please, comment...

1. Can I wear this dress out in public without looking like a reject from the 80's?

2. If I can, where would I wear this dress?

3. Is there anything I should change about this dress?

Be anonymous if you would prefer... I really need opinions.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Major pattern surgery Part 3

My major sleeve concern was this - when I'd laid out my sleeves, I thought the upper portion looked kind of small, and I was really hoping they would fit in my upper arm.

So, sewing up - that's what I was worried about. Turns out, it fit ok, but in a completely puffy, horrific, 80's way that almost made me abandon this project right off the bat.

But... my goal was to learn something out of this project, so I kept going.

The skirt is huge on this thing!!!!! Its all the gathering. I wanted to change this around - yards of fabric gathered around my hip is not a flattering look for me.

I thought I'd try inverted pleats - I'd seen a few in stores, and thought it might be a good look.

(Right here is the scary part - I'm making design changes to the dress. But I'm not a designer. Good sense would indicate I should stop. But no...)

Some sewing later (attaching sleeves and skirt) I had this monstrosity.

So many things were wrong with this dress at this point. (The fit's fine, I just haven't attached the zipper yet.)

1. I'd calculated my inverted pleats wrong, so nothing matched at any seam. Serious seam ripping lay ahead.

2. Those sleeves!!!!! How I hate, loathe and want to burn those sleeves. I look like a reject from the 80s clown factory.

I gnashed my teeth in frustration, balled this up and threw it in a corner. Then I went and made myself a patchwork scarf.

There's a slightly happier conclusion to this. I unballed the dress, and at present stage, have fixed sleeves, fixed pleats and attached zip. I'll provide an update when I'm all done with this.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Major pattern surgery Part 2

Right after I wrote that last post, I felt the urge to get pattern altering... So, I pulled out and traced the paper pattern, started cutting this black striped synthetic fabric that hasn't been calling to me at all (this is a trial garment, after all) and got sewing.

As you may recall, I had wanted to do 3 things:

1. Remove crotch pointing front

Relatively straight-forward. I merely overlaid the front center and front side sections with the corresponding back sections, and traced out the back lines instead. (Since this is a princess seam - there's a center front, and a side front pieces to alter.)

2. Widen and lower neckline

Also straightforward.

3. Raise the armhole thingy to be tighter

This one was not at all straightforward, and I have to say, I was mostly guessing as I was doing this.

First, I read this informative post from Dawn on raising armholes

It all made sense. And then I looked at mine.

Unfortunately, with the way this bodice is constructed, the armhole thingy is formed when you join the center and side sections of the bodice, rather than in one section only.

Also, for some reason that still eludes me, the sleeves were not the standard one-piece sleeve, but had front and back pieces.

I started with the sleeves. My goal was to remove bagginess, and decrease the armhole diameter.

Original lines are in blue and black - my alterations are in red. On all pattern pieces, I removed the seam allowance, did the altering, and redrew the seam allowance, to ensure I was accounting for the seam allowance correctly.

Back sleeve:

Altered back sleeve - compared with original back sleeve:

Bodice alterations - center front:

Side back (I'd show side front, but I forgot to take a picture. Its pretty much the same thing though.)

Having done all that, I decided it would make sense to sew the thing up, to see if I was even close on the alteration. (I also decided to play with grain a little, after remembering examples of it by Cidell and Threads)

Here's the bodice, sewn up:

Trying it on, the armhole thingy was still too large, though it fit reasonably well at bust and below. I took another inch and a half off, leading to the final bodice.

In the next post, I'll show you the disaster that happened when I attached the horrendous sleeves and the skirt.

Monday, November 19, 2007

Can anybody say ugly?

Seriously, what were people (me included, probably) thinking in the 80s?

This pattern was part of a mystery pattern 2-pack I bought at the thrift store today. I could only see the back of the pattern, and it looked quite harmless from the back. Little did I know...

I could pitch it, of course, (or honestly, if you read this blog, and want this pattern, just email me - I'll be glad to mail it to you...) but ever since that Sew Stylish issue, I've been wanting to try serious pattern surgery. This pattern is perfect for that.

First off, I'm planning on raising the front skirt right up to the waist - so its flat across, not (umm) pointing towards the crotch. (Seriously, what were they thinking?!!!!)

Next up, I'll widen and lower the neckline. Severe is not a look that works for me.

After that, I think I'll raise the arm hole thingy to be tighter.(I know it has a real sewing name, but I don't know what it is. I'm an idiot.) No baggy sleeves for me.

It goes without saying that any shoulder pads will be eliminated. And finally, I'll definitely get the length to slightly shorter than my knee.

I think, if I manage to do all that I'm imagining I'll do, I'll end up with a low rent version of this
(Ok, this dress has princess seams, the Burda dress doesn't, but this dress is close to the sort of look I'm going for.)

Or, since I own the Burda magazine, I could just trace the dress I want... hmm. Still, this will be a fun project.

I'll take photos as I go along...

And in case you were wondering what the nice pattern was in the mystery pack, it was this one below... I was drawn to the shawl collar, and the shirtdress, and the retro feel this one had. Its completely not my size, but hey. I can fudge.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Weekend sewing.

Despite the 10 odd hours of football I watched today, I still managed to get a fair bit of sewing done over the weekend. Pattern reviews follow.

Burda World of Fashion Magazine: 09-2007-112 (Babydoll Top)

Pattern Description:
A simple babydoll top, with the gathered bust section made of jersey, and the lower section in silk satin. (I didn't use silk satin.)

Pattern Sizing:
34-42. I made a 36.

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

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Oddly enough, yes. I'm not a fan of BWOF instructions, or lack thereof, but this top was easy to construct. (I'm a beginner.)

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This kind of shirt sells at Banana Republic or other stores for big bucks. And its very simple to sew, and one of those patterns that look nice and dressy over jeans.

Also, I liked the gathering detail at the bust.

Fabric Used:
I used a thin black jersey, and a printed synthetic - bought bought at Fabric Land.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
I didn't have enough of the printed black, it was a remnant. I therefore eliminated one pleat off each side.

Also, the directions called for an invisible zipper. I tried the top on without, and it fits, so I (happily) omitted it.

Finally, the directions called for bias strips on the back neckline and armhole edges. I tried bias strips, but my sewing machine was having none of it, and was being cranky. So, I omitted this, and just narrow hemmed both.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes. And yes. I can see this in a summery pale pink or some other pastel.

This kind of separate is perfect for my wardrobe, and I'm very happy. Its also really simple to sew, and I'm surprised more people haven't made it.

Burda World of Fashion Magazine: 10-2007-115 (Tee with folded-over gathers)

Pattern Description:
Tee with folded over gathers.

Pattern Sizing:
38-46. I made a 38, but left the seam allowances out, to make it closer to a 36 (without actually doing work.)

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
Like the line drawing, yes.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Thanks to Christina's review, yes.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
Lots of people have reviewed this one, here's what I found were noteworthy about it.

I made this pattern 3 times, and got one working t-shirt out of it. (We'll call that 2 muslins. Things I found:

1. The neckline is really, really low. My final version has the neckline raised 1.5 inches.
2. The first two times I made this t-shirt, I folded the pleats so that the pleats radiated outward from the center. This both made the foldover part look a bit like a bib, but also made the neckline gape a bit. My last version, I folded the pleats all one direction, and this worked perfectly.
3. This works best with a lightweight knit. I tried it with a heavier knit, and the weight of the foldover part really made the neckline gape.

Fabric Used:
A thin jersey knit.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
As mentioned above, making a 38 without seam allowances to get a little fit. And raising the neckline 1.5 inches.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
I would definitely recommend this. Dunno if I would sew it again, but only because its quite distinctive, and I can't see my wardrobe having multiple of this t-shirt. (However, the pattern is easy to adapt to eliminate the foldover, and this would make a fantastic, basic, long-sleeved t-shirt pattern.)

I'm honestly thrilled with this t-shirt. Thrilled to bits.

Close up of the neckline...

Random musings.

Well, Michigan didn't win. Bleah. Nonetheless, useful time, since I got BWOF 09/2007 115 traced. (I think its this pattern, I don't have the magazine in front of me, and for some reason, annoyingly, I can't see the old patterns on the website.)

Also, I finished my t-shirt after the game. My photographer (kid brother) is napping, so a pic in a bit... It really came out well, and I love it.

In the evening, I went out to a Sewing meetup. This was fun! I've never sewn with people, and it was fun to see what other people were doing, etc. There were 8 of us, and fairly evenly divided age-wise, which was nice. Interestingly, everyone there cuts with scissors! Of course, to each their own, and all that, but honestly, when I switched to cutting with a rotary cutter, it changed my life. Cutting with scissors, my second layer would always slip and slide around, and I could never cut very accurately. With the rotary cutter, more accurate, and infinitely faster.

At the sewing meetup, I cut and started sewing the BWOF. Its coming along well, almost done...

I'm watching football now, of course. Perhaps I'll trace something else?

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Interrupting the crafting to say...


Michigan plays Ohio State today. I know what I'm doing from noon to 3.30pm today. Perhaps I can pattern trace while watching the game?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

BWOF 9-2007-111 - Take 2.

You were all very nice to not mention it, but I look like a sack of potatoes in that purple dress. And while I do have a few pounds to lose, I am not totally shapeless.

A second try at this dress was warranted.

The Fabric:
To counter the Talbots feel, I chose a bright fire-engine red fabric - bought at Goodwill for $1? $2? Not more than two bucks. My lining was a remnant bought at Bouclair for $1.

Pattern alterations: A ton of them. First, I took two inches off the front piece and the back top piece. I essentially drew two parallel lines on the pattern, parallel to the bottom line, the first one just below the dart point and the second, two inches down. I cut the two lines out, and attached the pattern back together. Easy-peasy.
I have no idea if this is the proper way to do this, but I dislike reading instructions, and prefer to learn by doing and failing.

Also, I deepened both the front and back darts - the front by a quarter of an inch in each dart (taking an inch off overall) and the back by a tiny bit - maybe 1/8 of an inch?

Finally, I took off another quarter inch on each seam in the side, from under the armpit down to two inches below the waist.

This pretty much removed all excess fabric on the dress, leading to...

The dress:
Ta-dah. Ignore my closed eyes in the picture. Also, the dress needs to be washed and ironed. It fits well, any wrinkles in the picture are wrinkles, not puckers.

Up next: I'm so torn - there's a million things I want to make. I made a muslin of the October 2007 BWOF, style 115. See Christina's version here.

My version was a bit of a disaster - for a few reasons.

1. The neckline is really, really low! I like my cleavage and all that, but this was a bit much. (Think, below the bra center.) A pattern alteration to raise it has been made.

2. I used a very heavy jersey? knit? for the fabric. Which means the gathers gape open big time. I think a lighter fabric will prevent this.

I'll take a picture of the disaster version - but up next will be this t-shirt, in my actual fabric, a black jersey knit.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Remember the entry where I was wondering if a jumper dress would work on me? Well, sparked by Cidell's dress, and the BWOF September issue, where this was the illustrated pattern, I dove in.

On the plus side, this was an easy pattern to sew. It was also my first fully lined dress, and I was grateful for the (mostly) helpful illustrations.

On the minus, I took it to show my friend, and she remarked - Wow, you are so shapeless. (Grin. It was funny, really.) Also, this dress illustrates why people make muslins. Since I'm petite, I should have taken two inches off the bodice to get the waist in the right place. Right now, the waist hits me 2 inches too low.

Full pattern review here:

Pattern Description:
Fully lined jumper type dress. Zipper in back.

Pattern Sizing:
38-? I made a 38 on top, and graded to a 40 at waist and hip.

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it?
So hard to tell from the fashion photo, but it looked like the technical drawing.

Were the instructions easy to follow?
Yes. This was BWOF's illustrated pattern of the month, so there were actually pictures to help. Not really necessary, this pattern was fairly self-explanatory. The only thing that was a little tricky was attaching the lining at the shoulders. I had a bit of trouble, but it was my fault, I didn't follow the directions.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
This is a nice, classic style. Depending on the fabric used, this could be corporate or casual. I can't see myself wear this with a shirt underneath, but can see myself teaming it with some kind of cardigan at work.

Fabric Used:
Cheap synthetic crap from Walmart. But it was $1.97 a meter, so I suppose you get what you pay for. (I didn't want to use nicer fabric, since I wasn't sure if it would work or not.) However, it is washable, so that's good.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
None. But when making it again, I will shorten the bodice by 2 inches or so, to get the waist where I want it. I might also make it a tad snugger.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?
Yes, and yes. Its easy, it looks like you'd expect, it has 4? pattern pieces, what's not to love?

I like this dress, even though its a bit Ann Taylor (or worse, Talbots.) I'd love it if the waist was in the right spot, but that was my own fault. I'm pretty proud of it though, it was my first fully lined dress!

Friday, November 02, 2007

Halloween costume update...

Its done! The costume won't win any neatness awards, but done is better than perfect.

Without further ado, here are pics...

And the back...

A shot of me being Renaissance (or silly...)

I'm very pleased with this. It was easy to sew - the inner shirt has 3 pattern pieces, the corset, 2 pieces. I didn't make the skirt since the salwaar already approximated a skirt - I just cut it off at the waist, added a drawstring cord, and called it done.


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Upcoming sewing.

Sew Be It Studio has a Sew Green contest going that I want to enter. (The prizes are nice... I'm a sucker for free stuff.)

The garment I'm reusing for this project is an old salwar kameez. Once upon a long, long time ago, my aunt had bought this (or maybe had it made?) for my cousin. Either my cousin wore it, or most likely, she didn't. She then proceeded to give it to my mother.

My mother decided this salwar looked dreadful on her, but she didn't want to take it to India to recycle, like she normally does, incase my aunt saw it and was hurt (or mad at my cousin.) So, it sat at the back of my mom's closet...

Until I came along. I wanted to make something for Halloween. I decided a Renaissance dress was what I wanted to make.

Here are some before pictures.

Me, wearing the dress (I've already ripped a sleeve out) I'm literally drowning in fabric.

And the pattern I want to make:

The contest ends this week, I think. I have a skirt, shirt and vest to make. Hmm. I think I should start this NOW.
Butterick 5030. View D.

Finally, a picture of a dress. I've been making this dress for weeks now. Not the fault of the dress, just not finding much time to sew. I like this dress, though. I've been wanting to make a wrap dress, and this one feels easy and summery. (And I do realize its fall. Ah well. I can wear it next year.)

The pictures make my waist look enormous. I didn't think the dress did, but I'll wear it with a belt to give my waist more definition.

Here's my pattern review.

Pattern Description:

Misses Dress, Belt and Sash. Flared, wrapped dress, below mid-knee has semi-fitted bodice, front band or collar, sleeve variations.

Pattern Sizing:
8,10,12,14. I made View D - made an 8 on top, and graded to a 12 at waist and hips.

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

Sort of. The neckline on my bodice was a lot lower, so much so I have to wear a t-shirt under. However, I am petite, so maybe that's why?

Were the instructions easy to follow?

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern?
I thought the pattern fit together well.

Fabric Used:
Striped shirting fabric bought on sale at Bou-clair (its a cotton blend, I think.) It was very easy to work with.

Pattern Alterations or any design changes you made:
Since I'm petite, I took inches off the skirt obviously. I also took an inch off the bodice. Now that I'm thinking about it though, I think this made my neckline that much lower.

Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?

I would definitely recommend this. I might sew it again in a very different fabric.

I really like this dress, and think I might actually wear it outside the house. (But with a belt, I think the dress really needs one.)

And finally, I need to learn to take better pics. Bleah.

Monday, October 29, 2007

While I'm still to take any clothing pictures, I do actually have a couple of pictures to share. Around Canadian Thanksgiving, my mom decided that she wanted to make a couple of baby quilts for a friend's kids. I got drafted into this project (why?) and helped pick out colors, patterns, etc. And then, I got suckered into actually quilting. (I hate quilting.)

I used the birthing method for binding that I first found out about on Lady Havratine's blog I do love this method of binding, I think its way easier than binding, and the results ended up neater. I also used the simplest quilting design in the world...

The little boy's quilt was just pinwheels alternated with solids. I've done this before, I like this layout a lot, and it helps use up triangle blocks that are lying around.

The little girl's quilt - both my mom and me absolutely loved Amanda's the future's so bright quilt. Since she was kind enough to post measurements, our decision to make this was even easier. As with the other quilt, my mom pieced and I quilted.

I'm currently working on a wraparound dress made with some of my ridiculously large Bou-clair haul. Its cotton, which is silly, since its freezing in Toronto. Ah well. I'm almost done with this dress though, so I'll post pics later this week.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My public service announcement...

For those who live in the GTA, Bouclair is getting rid of its apparel fabric, and has most stuff discounted to 90% off. I loaded up big-time, but when you can get 100% cotton fabric for $1 a meter, its all good.

I should post this in Pattern Review, shouldn't I? That would be a good thing to do.

I'm really upset that they are closing out their apparel fabric though. Its hard to find reasonably priced fabric, and Bouclair had some good deals. I'm not too sold on Fabricland yet, either. Perhaps I should just go downtown?

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Cidell tagged me for 8 things you didn't ask to know about me. First time being tagged, so I'm excited to play. Here goes...

1. Apart from sewing and crafting, the other things I enjoy doing are watching football and drinking beer. I actually like drinking beer so much that when I moved to Toronto, I immediately started a beer group to go drink beer with me. The inherent contradictions in my choice of hobbies (girlie vs. beer slob on couch watching football) amuse me.

2. I have many good qualities, I'm nice, good-humored and generous, but I'm also incredibly messy, and the world's worst procrastinator. Case in point - I sewed up four skirts in July, and all I had left to complete and wear them over summer was attaching a hook and eye to them. Yeah, still not done. Hence, didn't wear any of the skirts over the summer. I'm idiotic like that.

3. I never mention my blog to casual friends. In fact, the only people that know about my blog are my family, and three of my friends.

4. My parents used to live in Africa. I bought so much fabric when I visited, that I have a whole suitcase of gorgeous fabric sitting somewhere (in storage, since I'm between apartments.)

5. I stay friends with ex-boyfriends. My entire family thinks this is pretty strange. I tend not to worry about it.

6. Reethi is my real first name. Its Indian, I grew up in India.

7. I'm addicted to email. I check email every 10 secs. But I procrastinate on replying...

8. I'm writing a children's novel. My deadline is November end. I WILL finish this by then. (Ok, I've now stated this publicly, so more pressure.)

That's my 8. I'm tagging no-one, or everyone. If you read this, and want to play, please do!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Pondering jumpers...

The jumper trend seems huge, and I've the September BWOF, with a jumper pattern which I think I can manage to sew without too much heartache. (See Cidell's really cool version here.)


The deal is, I'm short and plump, and I've a bit of a tummy. I'm pretty sure the jumper will make me look shorter, plumper, and completely shapeless.

So, the smart thing to do would be to go to the mall and try one on.

I've been a bit sewing-uninspired. I had almost finished installing my invisible zipper, and then the zipper pull came out, and I couldn't fit it back. So I had to rip out the entire thing, and now I need to go shopping for an invisible zipper. Bleah!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

On patterns: Finally finding a pattern sale in Canada (Fabricland, all Simplicity patterns for $1.99), I added the following patterns to my pattern collection.

Simplicity 3692 - inspired by this dress, by Jenny which its not identical to, but I'm not upto drafting patterns...
Simplicity 3838 and Simplicity 4020 - inspired by this idea on Nibbles and Bytes
Simplicity 3631 - ever since Sew Stylish did an entire magazine with this pattern...
Simplicity 4074 - I'm going to be brave and try a knit dress one of these days... this is for that day.

On muslins: I don't make muslins. I might have mentioned this before? And I think its because I really don't buy expensive fabric - I'm super-cheap like that. I don't think I've ever paid more than $7 a yard. And $7 - that's really expensive for me. Usually, I pay $2. Or $3. Which makes everything I make a muslin, I guess. If I ever bought expensive fabric, I'm sure I'd make sure the pattern worked for me.

On photos: My camera is still hiding. I'll hunt it up, since I made a dress I want to take a picture of. I found the fabric in Bouclair's $1 remnant bin, and using some trim my mom was going to throw away, and $5 in lining (the most expensive part of the project) I made a dress I'm hoping will be quite wearable. I'm proud of my ~$6 dress.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Bad, bad Reethi.

I'd like to say I've been frantically busy, and hence no posting. But really, its because my digital camera is buried somewhere, and I don't want to go look for it.

In chorus now, please. Bad, bad Reethi.

Moving Day

In brief news, I finally (after talking about it for a few months) have moved to Toronto. I like Toronto so far...

The people are nice - though they like to complain about how people in Toronto aren't nice. I'm not quite sure why.

The fabric is plentiful, if not cheap. I miss the dollar bin at WalMart, and my internal struggle between the cheapness, and feeling like I shouldn't be supporting WalMart with my purchase. (There's actually a lot of angst and conflict there, I'm from a third world country, but I'm a business major, I believe that globalization is largely a good thing for my country, but it does come with its own costs... lots of angst. Which is a topic for a different post, in a different blog, since this blog is more or less about crafting...) However, back to bitching about Toronto prices, ouch!!!! I got spoilt living in Michigan, clearly.

As an aside on the high Canadian prices, I paid $4.50 for a half pint of Guinness yesterday. $4.50. HALF-PINT. Given that my diet is fairly high in Guinness, this could hurt.

Then again, I can go to any number of ethnic eateries, aimed at Toronto's immigrant population, and get a filling meal for under $5. So I guess, little give, little take.

There's no Joann's here. Ok, this one is truly tragic. Maybe this makes me a bad person, but I like big-box fabric stores, with their plentiful supply of cheap fabric, and 40% off coupons. Given that about half the projects I make don't quite turn out as planned, cheap fabric is pretty much a must. Not to mention the 99c patterns, I loved those... (an aside to friends in Michigan. When coming to visit me, presents of fabric will be much appreciated. I will ply you with Indian food, in return.)

Ok, that wasn't brief at all.

Sweatshop sewing

My new thing is sewing clothes. I love the idea, especially since I've always been the type to look at something (anything) and go, "oh, I can make that". And no, I can't, or if I can, won't finish it all the way, and it will remain a UFO forever, but still.

So, bags haven't been made in months, but I did make:

- 4 skirts (waiting for me to sew a fastener onto the waistband...), using my exising Simplicity pattern.

- One rather sack-like dress,

- One shirt (all done!),

- Another shirt (waiting for bias binding at the neck and sleeves), this time, copied from a t-shirt I own,

- Another skirt, copied from a fun Gap skirt I own...

- And a pair of capris! (Which needs hemming and buttons, but I'm so pleased with myself!)

I promise I'll edit this post with pattern # and pics over the weekend.

Blogging favorites

I read, and love about a gazillion bloggers. But I do have a few special favorites, the blogs whose posts get read first on bloglines... And I think its because their lives are a little more similar to me - single and crafting, vs. married with kids.

Among them are...

AfricanKelli - the first blog I ever commented on! Kelli is fantastic, of course, and I love her blog for the mix of doing good, crafting and travel...

Cidell - my newest complete obsession (in a good and non-stalker like way...) Cidell sews up a storm, and I sat, the day I found this blog, until 3am in the morning, reading it, start to finish. As I slowly dip my toe in the sewing my own clothes world, Cidell is great inspiration.

Ok, its 1.34am. Time for bed. Seriously.

And I promise. Pics will follow over the weekend.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Swapping joy...

First, my beautiful apron...

I signed up for the One Hour Craft apron swap a while back, and have been bad about posting pictures. Shari sent me the most beautiful apron! It is so, so pretty. I love the contrast of the flowered fabric with the dots and the stripes - so well done! Here are a couple of pics, including one of me looking quite dorky...

I made Shari an apron too, from Butterick, B4945 I had fun with it... contrasting fabric with more crazy pom-pom trim...

Onto, Post Karte. Gina sent me such fun stuff!

The most beautiful yarn, an orange (my favorite color currently) journal, kittie notecards, pretty notepaper, and so much more! I was very spoilt.

I like swaps!
And the giveaway winner is...

Angie! Angie, please send me your address and I'll send you a bag. Thanks for commenting, everyone! (And sorry about the delay, I'm vacationing in Montreal.)

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Sewing adventures...

While I'm a fairly competent maker of patchwork and bags and misc. stuff like that, I've never been able to sew clothes. I've found pattern instructions gibberish, and complicated, and I don't understand notches, markings, or any of that stuff.

But seeing all the cool clothes people make really inspired me to try again. (I once made a sack-like dress in some sack-like fabric, which I promptly threw away. Lesson learnt - I must like the fabric. Complete waste of time otherwise.)

I was especially inspired by this shirt...

So, I re-dipped my toe into the sewing clothes pool. I started with a skirt, Simplicity 4036. And it worked! (Mostly. Can I insert a gripe here about pattern sizing vs. clothes sizing in retail stores? I mean, I know its the retail stores that keep changing the sizes, but still. I measured and guessed at a size... the skirt is a tiny bit snug, but more or less ok.)

Inspired, I made more. One for my friend Jeeva, shown here.

Which I was very pleased with.

So, I kept sewing. A couple of disasters, (not in my sewing, I don't think, but in the fitting? see above gripe about sizes.) I don't have pictures of these, but they are worth sharing. I should take pictures of these.

Ok, conclusion to this long, winding story, I promise. Being a little ambitious, I thought I'd tackle New Look 6672 (view C)

And I'm actually fairly pleased with the way this turned out. If I had to do over, the only thing I'd mess with is the bodice, I'm not super happy with it, and its drawn a little tight, making my arms look fat. (They don't really need extra help.)

Plus I don't really think I should do gathered skirts (hips - I have them.)

But all in all, nice. (Fabric note: I used some cotton I bought in Jo-Anns a while back. Its a little thick, which made the dress easier to sew, but a thin cotton would probably drape much better.)

Oh, and taking pictures of myself is very hard.

And I wish I could say my house is a mess because I'm moving. But the unfortunate truth is, my house is mostly always a mess. The only difference is that right now, I have an excuse.
Post Karte

I signed up for this fun swap a while back, and I've been quite awfully procrastinating about it. (And the apron swap.) Gina was my partner, and sent me a ton of pretty stuff, which I'm yet to take a picture of. (Bad, bad Reethi.) Tomorrow, I promise.

Anyway, one of the parts to this was to take pictures of 5 things that made you happy. I cheated and sent this to Gina electronically. (Bad, bad Reethi.) Still, it was worth sharing, I think. (I tend to share more projects here, and less about me in real life, mostly because I like to keep them separate, and besides, my life isn't really that interesting...)

Ok, onto my 5 things that make me happy:

1. Coffee. In particular, this coffee, both because it reminds me of a vacation where I sat in the tent at Café du Monde and ate beignets and drank this very good coffee, but also because this is very good coffee. Also, the tins make me happy. They are so colorful!

2. My new bag – especially the colors, and the pom-poms. This bag is a bit of a departure for me, since the goal was to make it from what I had lying around, but also just play with it. I love how the colors ended up working together, and the pom-pom trim just added a bit of kickiness. (I also like saying pom-pom, and making up words like kickiness.)

3. My cool dining table light. A find at the clearance table at Urban Outfitters, $10, and its given me three years of pleasure. At night, it casts this beautiful orange glow, and my apartment looks warm and inviting. Looking up through the window, I want to go in and ‘be in’ my life.

4. Vacation - I’m always dreaming of vacation, or planning a vacation, or basking in the glow that comes from a good vacation… Recently, I was able to sneak away to Key West for a weekend, this was in early April, when Michigan was experiencing a super-cold weekend, which made this extra special. I stood at the water’s edge, and took this photo to remind me of how warm the sun felt, how welcome-cool the water was, and how lucky I was to be there.

5. And last, but not least. Harry Potter. (The book, not the movie.) For years now, I’ve been reading the series, waiting with huge anticipation as each book comes out, devouring it in instants, and then waiting again… And now, less than a month to go before the final book is out! Hugely excited!

That's it. 5 thing that make me happy. Although, to be honest, a ton of things make me happy. Coffee's probably always number 1 though. (How did shoes not make it to this list, anyway? Shoes make me happy too... very, very happy. Even when my toes are in agony, happy.)

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Woo hoo!

So, I noticed today on bloglines that I have 7 subscribers. How did that happen? The 7 of you - thank you for putting up with my almost-never posting... And hey! This will be my 25th post!

I should have a give-away. (I have to warn you though, I'm not one of those super-neat sewers. My work does not hold up under close scrutiny.)

Ok, giveaway. I'll give away this tote, inspired by my Simple Sewing book to a random commenter, if you comment on this post. The tote itself is a combination of new and thrifted material. I think its kind of cool and funky.

EDITED TO ADD: Oops, forgot to mention, I'll draw names next Monday, July 2nd...

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Old stuff

I think I've mentioned here before that I used to quilt (or rather, just make the patchwork tops) a lot, once upon a time. And I would sell stuff on eBay, and get heartbroken when stuff wouldn't sell well, and my hours of effort, not to mention fabric, would get bought for $20. Or less.

Anyway, I was browsing through an old backup, and found these pics, so I thought I'd share.