Wednesday, December 31, 2008

My hands-down favorite thing about 2008?


Wishing all of you many Biscuits in 2009! Or puppies, or whatever makes you happy...

Monday, December 29, 2008

Last-minute Christmas presents

I was originally going to spend Christmas in Toronto, but decided, very last minute to spend it in Kalamazoo, MI with my friend Brian and his mom. This left me one evening to buy/make presents for both Brian and his mom...

I hate the mall, what can I say? The prospect of being at the mall on Dec 23 fighting the crowds was making me pale with horror. Besides, Brian was being unhelpful and refusing to tell me what he wanted (something about my driving all the way there being present enough, etc. Which is nice and sweet, but not helpful.)

So, crafting needed to come to the rescue.

Jan (Brian's mom) was relatively easy, if time-consuming. I decided I was going to make her a lap quilt. In one evening. Thankfully, all fabric, batting and backing could come from stash.

So, I pulled all my greens from the stash. I cut random rectangles at lunch (came home from work, I'm super-fortunate, I live a 5 minute walk from work.) That took about an hour to do. (Random is harder than it looks, and I wanted a good assortment of greens.)

Since it was Dec 23rd, everyone left work early, (yay!) and I came back home and continued. This is pretty simple piecing, you essentially piece all the rows at once, just adding the next piece for all the rows, more or less randomly. To get them all the same size, measure them once the rows are almost done, and trim off excess. (I hope that's clear? I took no action shots, was too busy sewing.)

I didn't have time for binding, etc, so I used the birthing method. Very simply quilted, just a line of quilting on either side of each row (my quilting skills are, to say the least, sloppy. I had to rip one row two times. Its any wonder I got it done.)

Total time taken - about 6-7 hours? Something like that. 1 hour to cut, 3 hours to piece the top, 45 minutes to sandwich, and do the birthing method, and 2 hours to quilt (most of that time was ripping that one row though, since there wasn't much quilting.)

And here's Jan, holding it up. She loved it, so all worth-while.

Brian - I racked my brains for this one. It would have been pajamas, except all my flannel (not much of it anyway) was at my parents, and I didn't have time to go get it. In the end, I finished a project I'd started over two years back. I stamped the lyrics to "One" on a pillowcase. It was fairly simple, but Brian really loved it, and is going to hang it on his wall.

I hope everyone had a great holiday season. I sure did, hanging out, eating yummy food (Jan's a great cook), drinking wine and coffee, finding boots at Macy's and buying a lot of fabric (separate post for that one). An excellent holiday break, and even if my heart is a little broken that the Patriots didn't make the playoffs, so what? Everything else was pretty awesome. (But, don't even get me started on the Jets. Really.)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

While my batteries are charging, yet again...

Umm. I really need to buy new batteries. Or a new charger. Or both.

Last week, right after the cardigan from hell, I made myself a consolation prize - the quick & easy Butterick 4987 (now OOP).

(Note to self - next time, wear with a bra that is not blue. Although it was covered by a cardigan for the entire evening.)

Inspiration - Erica's fantastic version of this, way back from May. I bought the pattern shortly after seeing her version, and it has sat in my pattern stash ever since...

Fabric - a piece of print fabric bought at a thrift store. I loved the vintage feel of this print. I think I paid less than 50c for this. (I really miss that thrift store, it was in Michigan. Sigh.)

Instructions - worked well. I used them, since I had no idea how the ruffle actually worked. These instructions were clear and did the job.

Process - I cut a straight size 10, and took 2 inches off in the torso area. (The ruffle piece also has helpful lines where you are supposed to shorten, which made this a lot easier - without it I wouldn't have known where to shorten.)

This didn't take 2 hours to sew, although I did finish it in one evening.

Also, because I was trying to make this work with the fabric I had, rules about grain went out the window - the front piece was cut any which way to make it work. (The front piece, not the ruffle. That I cut as recommended, since I thought part of the fluidity of the ruffle would come from the bias.) My back facings are also from lining cloth - more of that make it work philosophy.

And in conclusion: Oh, how I love this top! I really, really, really love it. I think it looks super flattering on me, and I love that something that's so easy to sew looks so good. I wore it out the next day, despite the fact that it is freezing in Toronto.

Apologies for the crappy photo with no detail - this was an action shot, taken when I wore it out. I'll take better photos that show detail when the camera is back in commission.

(How I wore it most of the evening - under a black cardigan)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Free to a good home...

I just finished organizing all my patterns - they were starting to take over my apartment! (I also realized I have far too many patterns - no surprise there...)

Which means I've the following stack of patterns to offer - either duplicates or things I'll never make. I'll ship anywhere, but to minimize the hassle, please take a complete set, not just one.

Set 1 - Women's. (Duplicates, patterns are uncut)

Size K5 8-16

Size AAX 4-10

Set 2 - Kids (I thought I was going to sew for a friend's baby, then I realized I don't like to sew for other people... Too much work!)

Child 3-6

All sizes

All sizes (This one, I have opened, but I traced the pattern out, so it is still uncut)

So, if you want them, send me an email at reethij at gmail dot com or leave me a comment with some way to get in touch with you...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Ramblings, WIP, etc

To solve my knit hem problem, I went to my local sewing store at lunch (I do realize how spoiled I am - a sewing machine/notions store is 2 minutes away from my workplace...) I asked for and bought the right needles for knits, while describing my problem to the lady at the counter, who told me I needed to be using a blind hem stitch for the knits. So, I ponied up for a blind hem foot as well. We'll see... I think it might be worth my while to practice first, but I view practice the same way I view muslins - what's the point, really? (Yes, yes, I know what the point is. But, I lack the work ethic. I'm working on it.)

Like I said in a previous post, I'm now making a jacket (the jacket above, actually.) (After you fail at sewing a simple cardigan, what do you take up next? A lined jacket, of course.) I'm trying to go very slowly, in a desire to avoid messing up. Sewing it in a grey wool-like fabric that's unravels like the devil, which makes me grateful its fully lined.

So far, I've made up the jacket body, set in the sleeves and basted the collar on. I've a stream of holiday related activities this weekend, which means I'll have limited sewing time. But the plan is to cut out the lining,(Ann has a great post on why you should do the lining first, which I unfortunately read too late...) and finish the jacket up over the weekend. (Umm. Wish me luck.)

I still have more of the grey fabric, which I wanted to make a pair of pants with. Tany's lastest pair of pants provided the best inspiration, so maybe that pattern?

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Pattern review - McCall 4923 (OOP)

One of the pieces of fabric I'd bought in November was this purple jersey knit. I thought it would serve as the perfect Endless Combinations piece 3. See, the rules say that the 3rd piece must go with piece 1 and 2. (Or so I think I read.) Well, since piece 1 was a top, and piece 2 was a skirt, piece 3 would have to be either a jacket or a cardigan, or some form of cover-up.

I am trying to make a jacket right now, but honestly, its so above my sewing skills that it just might be a total disaster. And I love twin-sets, I really do! They fall under mindless dressing for me - easy to wear, goes with anything, and costs a ton of money in stores! (Why? I've never understood it. Is it because only working women wear twinsets, and the assumption is that they have plenty of money to buy them?)

I digress. Back to the cardigan. I didn't measure (serves me right) but I assumed I'd be a small at the top, and a medium at the hip. Nope - this cardigan HANGS off me. I went back and took some volume off the side seams at the hip, but still too loose.

I could live with the fitting issues, since they aren't really that bad, if it wasn't for the one major flaw - the hem! The stretching! Aaargh. Totally my fault, of course, strategic use of interfacing, the right needle, the right tension, all might have solved this. But no, I boldly dove into this, using no interfacing, a heavy-weight needle (what was I thinking?????) and with nary an adjustment to any tension.

Let's put it this way. This cardigan isn't a complete disaster, and it will get worn. But it is so flawed! I can't fix this, but I will re-try this pattern very soon, because I insist on learning how to do a knit hem without the stretch.

(Incidentally, I bought a meter and a half, and had I bought another 1/2 a meter, I'd have enough for both the shell and the cardigan. I'm just short of fabric by the tiniest amount! Good to know!)

Is this Endless Combinations piece 3? Dunno. Maybe. Depends on whether I can make another in time, I think.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Sewing ADD

My sewing area looks like a bomb hit it! I have so many projects on the go right now, it isn't even funny.

1. Vintage Simplicity dress - I need to cut out lining, sew lining, attach lining, put in zipper. This one's off to the side because I really don't like this dress. Still, halfway finished dresses are pretty useless, so I might as well finish it, and it could grow on me. Maybe.

2. A quilt. In green & brown. I'm making the blocks right now.

3. A jacket! Grey wool-like fabric. I cut the fashion fabric out last night, still need to cut out lining & interfacing.

I'm sure there's more! I just can't remember what right now.

Deep breath. Calm. Serenity.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Pay it forward

Gwen, of After the Dress, posted this - and I was one of the first three commenters.

She is going to send me something hand-crafted during the next 365 days. Yay!

So, passing this on, I'm posting the same offer on my blog. I will send out something handmade to the first three commenters on this post - sometime within the next year. If you want to play along, you need to be willing to make the same offer on your blog.

Like Gwen, I don't have any ideas what type of something I'll make, so I'm open to suggestions! I've actually made a lot of crafty things and even posted them here in the past, so it might help...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Endless Combinations - piece 2

The second piece - Simplicity 5914

More stash sewing! Both the pattern and fabric were part of the stash. I have no idea when I bought the pattern, but the fabric was bought last winter at my local Fabricland. Remnant bin find - $1.60. The only thing I bought for this project was a zipper.

I made a size 12, which is a tiny bit snug (though I might have also made a sewing error, and switched the side panels around). Its wearable though.

One change I made - I fully lined the skirt, as it is meant for winter, plus the wool/wool blend will make me itch otherwise (not a professional look.) To make the lining, I used the pattern pieces minus the width of the facing, and attached the facing to the lining.

I was surprised at how much the skirt flares out - I didn't get that from the pattern picture. Also, I thought I'd love this skirt - I have a RTW skirt that's very similar, and I wear it near constantly. But, I really don't. I like it well enough though, and it will get worn.

And, endless combinations piece 1 & 2 together...

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

I do sew...

But my camera's batteries are dead (note to self - buy new camera batteries, sheesh!), so all I have to share are more quilting photos, from Sunday.

Like I've said before, my parents are leaving for a trip to India tomorrow, and my mom's been making quilt tops pretty frantically in order to get them quilted in India (where it is cheap to get quilt tops quilted.)

This last Sunday and the Sunday before, I helped her with this quilt. And by helped, I mean, cut most of the squares, piece 28 of the 81 squares, cut the border, layout the squares into quilt form, and attach the squares into rows. My mom owes me!

Inspiration was the quilt on the cover of Kaffe Fassett's Quilts in the Sun: 20 Designs from Rowan for Patchwork and Quilting. This is a perfect go-to pattern if you want to make a king-size quilt top in a few days.

The quilt uses some of my stash of Nigerian fabric. (My mom really owes me, I parted with my fabric, kicking and screaming.) This is a housewarming present from my parents to one of their friends. (Note the degrees of separation here.) Ah well. My parents are going to India, so for the next 5 weeks, there'll be none of this forced labor. Grin.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Quilting Sundays...

I usually spend a good portion of Sunday with my parents in the burbs. Often times, quilting happens on these days. My mother quilts, she always has some project on the go, either ones I get roped into doing/finishing, or ones that inspire me to start my own. (Plus, she's got the quilting stash. Grin.)

Today, I'd brought a project to finish up, a UFO that's been on the to-do list for over 4 years. (Sigh.) All I needed to do with it was attach 2 rows - precisely 15 minutes of work.

The pattern is Shakespeare in the Park, by Judy Martin. (Click on the Shakespeare in the Park link to see viewer photos of this quilt made up, they are absolutely amazing.) This obviously dates back to times when I made complicated quilts - I'm too lazy to ever attempt to recreate something like this nowadays.

To be honest, the only reason this project was brought out is that my parents are going to India. My mom is taking a bunch of quilt tops to be quilted in India. She knows a guy who charges about $20 to do a king size, which is amazingly inexpensive. The work isn't fancy, but I loathe quilting, and am happy to avoid it at all costs.

So, I finished it up and added it to her suitcase. She now has 8(!) quilt tops that she's taking to be quilted, including this baby quilt, this other baby quilt (bottom of post) and this scrap quilt.

What else got done today? Well, fabric was bought. When did I promise to fabric fast till? I seem to recall end of November? So, fabric fast was ended 7 days early. Lunch and dinner, both excellent got eaten, a refrigerator got cleaned out, and laundry got done.

No sewing though. Tomorrow,I need to buy a zipper to finish up a skirt. I should finish it up tomorrow night, though I've a class that might delay it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Endless Combinations - piece 1

I'm entering the Endless Combinations contest at Pattern Review. (I need winter clothes!)

The first piece - Simplicity 2938 - view B.

I used a blue and cream cotton that was a remnant I bought a few months ago. I actually really wanted to use the remnant to make this pattern, and I've only gotten around to it 6 months later - that's not terrible!

I cut this out last night, finished it this evening. I'm on fire!

I've made the dress version of this pattern, so this top went together incredibly easily. I didn't read the instructions at all. I made a size 10 at the top, widening to a 12 at waist and hip. Took 2 inches off the torso, so the waist hits at my natural waist - which I have to do on all big 4 patterns.

And yay! I love this top! It fits, looks good, and I can use it in many combinations. I'm all excited now.

Pattern Review - McCalls 5466, view C

I was burrowing through my stash on Saturday, and pulled this brown fabric out. I'd bought it around 2 years ago, at Joann, without being sure what to do with it...

I've also wanted to make McCall 5466, view C for a while.

So, here it is.

I modified the pattern - didn't cut the skirt on the bias. (Not enough fabric.) Also, omitted the facings, and used bias strips to finish the neck edge. Apart from that, took 2 inches off the torso, 2 inches off the hem.

I messed up too - I forgot to cut the bodice on the fold. So, my bodice has a seam in it. (Plus, there isn't enough flowers in the bodice, which isn't too horribly visible, but still visible.)

All in all, this isn't my favorite dress, but it works. We'll call it a wearable muslin.

Boring details - I made a size 10 on top, size 12 at the bottom.

(And here's a slightly better shot, but without my head.)

Bonus cat shot - awww! Biscuit likes her ball of wool.

Pattern Review - BWOF 08-2008-119

This is the disaster I was referring to in my last post. BWOF 08-2008-119. Ok, I guess it isn't that bad. But I do feel like I look dowdy. Not a good look for me.

The instructions are slightly confusing for this one around the collar construction. Debra H's review at Pattern Review was incredibly helpful. Also helpful was looking at the picture - the shawl collar actually folds back (which seems obvious now, but not so obvious when I was sewing.)

Fabric - I used some of rust colored cotton jersey that's been sitting in my stash since August 2007. Yay! I still have enough fabric to make a dress, so I'll pull it out again, but to make something slightly more fitted.

I guess I can wear this out, but this feels sweat-shirt like. Ah well, I do need something to wear grocery shopping, I guess.

However, BWOFs have mostly worked for me, so I shouldn't complain too much.

(View from the side.)

(The sleeves are pretty wide.)

Saturday, November 08, 2008

And now, back to sewing...

I made this quilt top last weekend, when at my parents. (Another present for another baby, my mom owes me! But she did send me back home with a ton of food, so, I guess I'm ok.)

This was actually really simple to do, but I do love the interplay of colors. I've been told I need to make a bigger one for my parents.

I also made this shawl-collar jacket thing from a BWOF. It was a disaster - I look ridiculously dowdy. Pictures will follow to confirm (the batteries are charging now...)

There's going to be more time for sewing, now that the 4(!) hours a day I used to spend watching/reading election coverage have freed up. More frequent blog updates will follow, I promise.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

I saw history being made last night....

and I'm still in awe.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Sewing review - Simplicity 3751

Continuing the trend of sewing from stash, I made Simplicity 3751 from a piece of fabric that's been sitting in my stash for over a year. (I have a bad habit of buying remnants at fabric stores, attracted by their deeply discounted prices, and ending up with not enough fabric to make what I want. This shirt for example - I wanted sleeves, and didn't have enough fabric to make it work.)

I was fairly conflicted about this shirt before making it - it is fairly shapeless, which can either look easy and relaxed, or just shapeless. I've decided my top looks easy and relaxed, but I'd be avoiding it if I put on a few pounds - it can easily tip over into 'pregnant lady look'...

But I think I like it.

This picture shows how I'll likely be wearing it in fall. With a cardigan and jeans - easy-peasy weekend dressing.

Pattern mods - I started with a size 12 pattern, since for some reason, I'd bought a size 12-14-16-18 vs. something smaller. I'm a size 10 top in most big 4 patterns, so I knew I'd have some adjusting to do. To make it smaller, I (unscientifically took off 1" off the center seam - so, 4 inches off the entire top. And its still too wide - wow. I'd have been swimming in the 12.

Also, I took 2 inches off the length - my usual petite sizing. Also, I didn't really read the instructions, this is not a complicated shirt to make.

So, I think I finally have a sewing story that is successful, even if it is a mild success. Woo hoo!

End notes - I spent the day at my parents, much of it spent at my mom's sewing machine. She snapped this picture of me, hard at work.

I was making this quilt top, which, once finished, my mom is going to give to a friend of hers who had a new baby. (Well, actually, the baby's 6 months old. What can I say? I'm behind.) I'm quite pleased about sewing opportunities like this - it gives me a chance to sew down some stash, which means, I have room to buy more fabric. :)

Oh, and that fabric diet I put myself on? Still on it, if only because I haven't stepped into a fabric store since July, I think. November is looking very do-able.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I'm feeling a bit jinxed...

That Butterick dress? Well, its going to the back of the sewing closet. (Where wadders live.) Why? See below picture - and notice the serious bunching at waist. (Especially on the side where the zipper is attached, that's pretty yuck.) Big 4 patterns have been running large at size 12, so I bravely cut a 10. Yeah, I'm not a 10. Also, I can't sew a bias skirt or attach a zipper to one without causing serious stretching out of shape (note to self, stabilize next time.) Plus, I don't like the fabric (ah well, it was cheap.)

I might finish this if I lose 10 pounds and inches off my hip (also known as, when pigs fly.)

What else is jinxed? Hmm. Roll call - my TV died, my camera cable died, my computer is threatening to... Excuse me, I'm feeling a bit sorry for myself. It'll pass. My life is good.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Also, woo hoo to me!

I got a blog award! Kristy nominated me for a couple, actually, which is perfectly awesome! She makes the most amazing clothes - and looks really polished and professional in all of them. I'm very honored to be picked by her!

So the rules for these awards are:

1. Select 6 bloggers to whom you would like to give this award
I'm going to break the first rule! I read and enjoy entirely too many blogs to be able to narrow it down to 6. But, thank you, everyone who blogs. You are all such an inspiration, and sewing motivation.

2. Put the award on your blog and indicate who gave it to you by identifying her/his blog - okay!

3. Paste these rules on your blog - okay!

4. Write 6 of your most important values and 6 negative points you condemn.

Ah, we have an election round the corner (both in Canada and the US) so, important values/beliefs that's on my mind - personal choice, freedom of speech, separation of church and state. Other things - I like honesty, politeness to waiters and not taking yourself too seriously.

Things I'm not a fan of: People telling me what to do, small-mindedness, waste, lack of curiosity, especially about the world... maybe just those 4? There's a lot more that irritates me, but those are the biggies, atleast for the moment.

5. Inform the 6 recipients by leaving a comment on their blog - see 1, above!

Why I haven't been posting...

I've been cooking

Indian-style tomato gravy, used for curries. I'm going to freeze this batch, and then pull it out as needed when I'm being lazy (most weekdays.)

How to make? Heat oil, add cumin seeds, chopped onion, garlic and grated ginger, saute till it turns brown. Add chili powder, 1/2 tsp turmeric and salt and any other dry masala (I used 2-3 tsp of Shan's meat and curry masala) , fry for 1 minute . Add chopped tomatoes. Simmer, about 30 minutes.

I've been preserving and freezing

Ontario cauliflowers were on sale here a week ago (for 99c a head), so I bought a bunch of them, and froze. Again, this is excellent for weekday meals. Instructions here.

Also, did the same for green peppers.

I also made dill pickles, but those are at my parents, where they are sealing. I'm a bit nervous about these, but we'll see!

I've been making a zillion bags

For my nephew's birthday. My cousin is going to put the kids' giveaway stuff in these bags. (18 bags... an excellent opportunity to sew down the stash!)

I've been listening to amazing music!

I saw Delerium and Vieux Farka Toure in concert last week. Social life overload! The Vieux Farka Toure concert, in particular, just blew me away. (Also, umm, how should I put it? The boy's remarkably easy on the eye. What a hottie!)

Here's a YouTube video of my favorite song on his debut album.

But the most important reason?

I've had a new addition to the household

Awwwwwww - what a cutie! She's my foster cat (I've never owned a pet before, so I thought this would be the responsible thing to do.) Cleaning out the litter box is not, by any means, my favorite chore, but she's so much fun! Such a sweetie... Her official name, according to the foster people, is Star. I decided that Star's a pretty boring name, so I've renamed her - her new, better name is Biscuit.

I do have a current sewing project.

I'm making Butterick 5212. Its slow going, for all the above reasons... Plus, I need to go get a zipper. I honestly am not sure why I'm making this, I need fall clothes far more than another dress. However, I only have a few hours of work left on it, so maybe the next thing will actually be useful.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sewing review - McCalls 5039

The back story - at the start of spring, I fell in love with the whole ethnic trend. Cidell made this green dress and this maxi dress. Then, Christina made this amazing Patrones dress.

So, when I saw this fabric at Value Village, for ~$2, I pounced. And then it sat in the stash as spring, then summer passed by.

Ok, so now its the start of fall, which we'll assume is the perfect time to be making summer dresses. Sigh.

The pattern - it actually doesn't get much easier. I read somewhere that this pattern runs large - I agree. I made a size 10, and I left out the zipper - didn't need it. For context, I generally make a size 10 top, with a size 12 skirt.

There are around 4? pattern pieces on this one. Easy! The bodice is gathered, for the top, the fabric is folded on itself to make a tube, and then elastic is inserted into it. Again, easy!

The fabric - apart from the incredible African vibe of this dress, what drew me to it were the two borders on either side of the fabric. The borders ran across the width, so I had to cut them out, and then stitch on where I needed them. (One border at the waist, and the other at the hem.)

This is some kind of synthetic, I think. For all I know, it might even be silk? (I didn't do a burn test.) It ironed well though, and had a relatively high heat tolerance for a synthetic.

It also frayed like the devil, and so I made French seams throughout. What a pain! Still, without them, the dress would have lasted 4 wears. (As it is, I doubt if I'll get many wears - the fabric looks like it might fall apart... it feels very fragile.)

And the verdict? I love this dress. Its fun and funky and interesting.

Miscellaneous ramblings

Most of my family hated the border at the hem - they would have preferred I left it out. I, on the other hand, really thought the border lent the dress extra interest, and sewed it on.

Other things - my brother thought it made me look thinner - always good.

This dress sat on my cutting mat, half cut out, for more than two weeks. I sewed it up in 2 evenings. Again, sigh.

Finally, all of my family expressed surprise that it was fairly well sewn. Sigh. With friends like these...

I still hate the timer option to take photos, by the way. I'm just saying...

Monday, September 15, 2008

Sewing review - McCalls 4826

Would you believe, I finished this more than a month back? I've been waiting for someone to come take a picture - I'm tired of the ones I take myself.

(I need to comb my hair.)

In my stash, I had the perfect fabric for this pattern. This pink & white striped seersucker just screamed Swiss Milkmaid! Summer! And so, I started making this dress.

I couldn't find a review that said this, but I must have a faulty pattern or something. The back skirt pattern piece was twice as wide as the front. When gathering the skirt to attach onto the bodice, it looked like I was wearing a bustle. And I have hips. Not a good look for me.

So, I ripped. (Of course.) Adjusted both the midriff piece to be shorter, and the skirt to be way less full. (If I make it again, I think I'll just use the front skirt pattern piece for both front and back.) Finished the dress, still wasn't loving it. Put it away. Tried it on a few weeks later, and loved it. Which is actually quite reassuring - since it means some of my UFOs might actually be worth finishing.

I didn't really look too much at the instructions, but I wish I had. The bodice is lined, and I should have made it so my zipper was enclosed between lining and bodice, versus right now, where its stitched on on top. Also different for me, this project - I didn't have an invisible zipper handy, so I used a regular zipper. It lies more or less flat, but it isn't perfect. Ah well.

But the dress is pretty. Toronto's rapidly transitioning to fall, so I won't get much (or any) use out of it this year. But I certainly have a jump on next summer!

Let me see - boring details - I made a size 10. To adjust for the petite thing, I just took off 2 inches at the midriff piece, didn't touch the bodice. (Except for putting the buttons in the halter where it fit me, not at the marked point.) And I shortened the skirt to just around knee-length, which is about the length I like.

Would I make this again? Probably not - my sewing list is large, and I need to go find a bra that will work with a halter top. However, I would recommend it, with the above caveat about the back skirt piece.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Running way behind schedule - BWOF 07-2008-108

This is my July BWOF project of the month. Given its September, its safe to say I'm running way behind schedule. (I did buy the August issue, but haven't bought September yet. And, I have no plans for the weekend, so maybe some sewing?)

Back to the blouse. This blouse really caught my eye, and the added bonus? 4 pattern pieces - incredibly minimal tracing.

I made a size 38. I removed an inch off the length between my bust and my waist, and took at-least 2 inches off the length at the bottom, since I wanted it to hit precisely at my hip.

Fabric: Ah, the pleasures of sewing from the stash. This was a remnant off some other project from at-least a year ago. I didn't have very much of it, so my inside back yoke is actually a different fabric. But hidden, so it doesn't matter. Also, some kind of synthetic, with a tiny bit of stretch to it.

Can't tell you, since I didn't really look at them. There isn't really that much to this. (Join front yoke to front, back yoke to back, sides to sides, and use the inside yokes as facings to finish the neck edge.) A plus - the curved yoke sewed with minimal fuss and wrinkling, perhaps partly because my fabric has a bit of stretch in it, but also because I was determined that I'd do it over if need be to get it to lie flat. (I only had to rip out an inch or so, so I'm considering that incredibly easy.)

I left off the pockets, since I was looking for instant gratification. I should have made French seams, since this fabric frays really badly, but again, the instant gratification desire ruled. Finally, I left off the back zipper - since my blouse slid over my head without requiring it.

The end result: You tell me - hospital scrubs or beachy, breezy top? I love the pattern though, I'm already plotting to make the dress version, as well as a couple of other tops.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Finally, some sewing.

I decided I don't care that my apartment is a mess, that I have boxes to unpack, and no room to sew (except the dining table, which is now the dining/sewing/laptop/all purpose table.) But it had been a long time with no sewing, and it was starting to be annoying.

My first vintage dress had been such a success that I wanted to keep at it. So, I pulled out Simplicity 5056 from the stash (I found it at a Value Village...) and got sewing.

Isn't this beautiful? I loved the back view with the belt and the buttons.

My fabric is a cotton navy blue & white mini-houndstooth, almost. It had been sitting in the stash for a few months, and this dress seemed a good way to use it.

And here is the dress. It went together easily, nothing really complex here at all. The belt is sewn into the side seams, and buttons at the back.

Is it just me, or are there mistakes I keep making over and over? In this case, I know, with every fiber of my being, that I am not a size 8. Did I grade up? Umm, no. I hoped the pattern ease would take care of it.

Umm, no. Let's just say that for these photos, I'm really, really sucking in my stomach. I will wear this dress out if I stay away from beer + go to the gym everyday + go back on Dr. Joshi + lose 10 lbs. Until then, it can hang in my closet, looking pretty.

The back photographed way wonkier than it actually is. In person, I think its fine.

Also worthy of comment - I can't topstitch worth a damn. Look at how wonky the bodice is! I need a topstitching foot, patience, and proper thread. Bleah.

Despite the moaning above, I actually really like this dress. I'd love to make it again, this time in the right size, and with the right tools.

Final comment - wow, it is HARD to photograph oneself! My mom and brother have been serving as my photographers, but neither was around today. Next time, I'll wait for them.