Wednesday, April 30, 2008

And some more pics of detailed outfits

Mostly because Pattern Review mandates they already be on the web... I'll add details tomorrow?

Outfit 8

Outfit 9

The simplified bag...

Wardrobe 2008!

Real life - yikes!

Real life bit me, big-time. Mostly good stuff, but of course, when on such a super-tight sewing deadline, its hard not to look at being busy and social and going - BUT I NEED TO SEW!

So, yesterday, some reassessment happened. I still had two pieces to sew - the grey BWOF skirt and the bag. I was also going out in the evening. More of that social life! (Side note - Harold and Kumar Go to Guantanamo Bay - very, very funny!)

And I decided the plan needed to change, and I needed to swap my bag plan. I've never sewn with vinyl - there was a lot of little pieces, it hadn't been cut, I thought it would take two days to sew, time I just didn't have.

I went with Plan B. Simple, simple tote. It coordinates, its useful, and it sewed up super quick.

Long story short, I'm done. The camera is charging, I won't be able to take photos till 9pm, but I'm done, I'm done, I'm done!

I want to thank everyone who left a comment during this insanity, both here and on Pattern Review. Thank you!!!!! Your encouragement meant so much, and was so incredibly motivating!

Photos to follow in a few hours!

Thursday, April 24, 2008

BWOF 03-2008-117A (aka, marathon sewing project)

I fell in love with this blouse jacket the INSTANT I saw it in the March BWOF. The instant. And when I found a cheerful yellow fabric at Value Village, it was fate. It re-sparked the whole Wardrobe Contest idea.

Ah, but the pain this fabric put me through. The problem - it was just transparent enough that you could visibly see when I was wearing something dark underneath. As much of my wardrobe is dark shirts, I figured I needed to fix it.

I've bitched about lining issues in my last post. So, enough said on that.

I learned so much on this project. Its the first time I've ever lined a jacket. I'm sure the way I did it was unorthodox, but since this jacket didn't come with lining instructions, any way I got it in would work, as far as I was concerned.

I also did one nicer-sewing thing. I usually don't bother with nice details - I'm all about instant gratification - but this time, I used a yellow bias binding to finish the facing edges, and slip stitched the lining to the binding. Like so...

(Unfortunately, I occasionally caught some actual fabric in my needle. Oops. Ah well. I'll still wear the jacket.)

Looking at the picture, its clear the jacket needs pressing. It is completely time for me to stop being an ass and buy a pressing ham already! This project proved my ironing board is just not enough.

One more picture? This would be:

Outfit 7

Now, for those pesky pants...

ETA: I'm so pleased - I've made 2 projects from the March BWOF. Its almost like they aren't just eye-candy! Grin.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Penny-wise, pound-foolish...

Here's a confession - I do stupid sewing things.

Like - using the color of thread that's already in the sewing machine, rather than matching my thread. (I've been slowly weaning myself away from this doozy of a bad habit.)

Like - buying thin knit fabric instead of knit underlining (because the former was less than $2, and the latter was $7). Then realizing that above-mentioned knit fabric stretches ridiculously due to gravity, and is completely useless as underlining. (Thankfully for my white pants, I realized this before using the damn thing as underlining.)

Like using the above-mentioned knit fabric as lining for my yellow jacket. Oh, why oh why am I such an idiot? Let me see why I reached for it - oh, yeah. Because it was already there. And it was the only light color lining-like thing I had lying around.

Hmm - contrasting with that, let me list the reasons why I should not have used the damn thing.

1. It curls like the devil. (If the devil curled?) I've had to pin the fabric practically every inch to stitch a straight seam.
2. Like I mentioned before, it stretches. Ridiculously. My knit fabric, though cut the exact same size as my jacket, has already stretched 1.5 inches longer. (And this is the less-stretchier grain.)
3. And in order to compensate for 2, I just finished pinning all my princess seams together, lining & fabric, in order to stitch in the ditch on the fashion side to stabilize the lining somewhat.

I am such an idiot. My mom looked at me the other day (after hearing about my skirt saga, where, again, I used some white cloth as lining because it was there, which I now have to rip out) and said she thought I was penny-wise, pound-foolish. I think she might have a point.

And while I'm about it, a wardrobe update...

Yup, from the last update, a week ago, I've managed to finish one piece. Yeah. Life intervened, in the form of my birthday, much drinking (because of the birthday), nursing hangovers (also, birthday), window shopping and general goofing around. I'll still finish, I think, but I'm getting pretty close to the last minute here.


Top - McCall 4923
Top - Simplicity 4076
Skirt - Simplicity 3962
Top - BWOF 03-2008-110
Skirt - Simplicity 3631 (ok, bit optimistic to put it here, but anyway.)
Top - Butterick 4985

In varying stages of construction:

Jacket - BWOF 03-2008-117
Pants - Simplicity 4135
The bag - I've sort of made a pattern which will hopefully do.

Worrying me, since they are completely uncut:

Skirt - BWOF 03-2008-114 (untraced too, eek!)

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Now with photos!

The camera had batteries, my photographer (kid brother, who really was cranky about being the photographer) was around, so, photos!

Outfit 2

This is outfit 2. The skirt, I've reviewed before, here. The top is Simplicity 4076. I've made this t-shirt before and reviewed it here. No updates to add, this is an easy, basic, and oh-so-wearable t-shirt that I will reach for again and again on my wardrobe.

Outfit 3

BWOF 03-2008-110 top, Simplicity 3962.

This top was the sleeveless version of BWOF's illustrated pattern of the month. Simple in construction, until you come to the center band, which was incomprehensible to me, with or without pictures. In the end, I looked at the pictures of the finished top in the magazine, Christina's review and muddled through. Also, I raised the neckline an inch after cutting, at the shoulder seam (since I forgot to do it before.)

Close-up of top

Outfit 4

Outfit 5

Outfit 6

Same tops, the skirt is Simplicity 3631. This skirt! Sheesh. Honestly, this skirt had what, under 10 seams? I must have ripped each seam atleast once. There are some projects which feel jinxed from the start. This was one. End result. I still have a bit of ripping to do. I need to redo the lining, since the fabric I used was a bit thicker, and just feels really heavy for this skirt. So, got to fix that, but I will only at the end, once I finish the other items in the wardrobe, if I still have time.

So, status update, I'll get done, but barely.


Top - McCall 4923
Top - Simplicity 4076
Skirt - Simplicity 3962
Top - BWOF 03-2008-110
Skirt - Simplicity 3631 (ok, bit optimistic to put it here, but anyway.)

In varying stages of construction:

Jacket - BWOF 03-2008-117
Pants - Simplicity 4135
Top - Butterick 4985

Worrying me, since they are completely uncut:

Skirt - BWOF 03-2008-114 (untraced too, eek!)
The bag!!!! Eeek again.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I Heart Allison

The totally awesome Allison sent me a Patrones. (She had a blog giveaway... woo hoo!) I never win, this is absolutely the first time I've ever won anything.) Not only did she sent me a Patrones, but she sent me a Patrones all the way from Hong Kong. Seriously, how awesome!

I'm lusting after these...

But the pattern I'm absolutely going to make (after wardrobe craziness, ie.) is this fabulous blouse...

Like I said, I heart Allison.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Halfway there!

Ok, my camera batteries are dead, so no pictures yet. But, halfway there!

As you can tell, I clearly went for the easiest pieces first. (Actually, nothing in this wardrobe is particularly complicated, and I like it that way.)

I'm currently finishing up my jacket. Its looking great so far, but... its a bit transparent. Over a black shirt, the fabric is way darker. The right way to fix this? To line it. Only problem, I've never lined a jacket. I know the principle of how it works. Trying to decide if I want to do this. (Thoughts? I'll post a picture as soon as the batteries are charged.)

Also, I've started cutting my pants. I think I should do the pants next. Procrastination is not going to make this one go away, and I absolutely don't want to get to the last few days, and be struggling to sew pants.

Monday, April 14, 2008

The story so far...

Is that I need to get a move on! 16 days, 7 garments/a bag left. Eek.

Still, I finished one outfit, and am pleased as punch about it.

For my first top, I chose what I thought of as my easiest pattern, McCalls 4923. This should be a simple piece, right? 2 pattern pieces, no worries?

Yeah, right.

The problem is the instructions, which have you cut an outer shell, and an inner shell to use as lining. Seriously, who lines a basic shell? I got to say, these instructions, perfectly idiotic.

Umm. So, I ignored them, made bias strips, and managed to wreck my first version by stretching the armhole entirely out of shape.

Humbled, I crawled back to the McCalls instructions. Instead of fashion fabric, for lining, I used a grey knit underlining, very thin, so there's less bulk. (My fashion fabric is sort of sweater knit. I don't need two layers of this.)

The inside of my top.

Since there was lining, I finished the hem by folding and sewing the fashion fabric to the underlining, by hand (while watching the Empire Strikes Back on TV for only the millionth time) thus making an invisible hem.

A really bad picture of the hem.

Conclusion: Still think the instructions are brain dead. A shell does not need a lining. I will persist in learning how to attach a bias strip to a neckline and armhole without stretching them out of shape.

Next, onto the skirt. Simplicity 3962. This time, it looked easy, and thankfully, it was easy. Great skirt for a beginner (umm, me.) I made a size 12, which is my standard Simplicity bottom size. To petite-size this, I removed 2 inches off the flare portion. (In retrospect, I would have preferred to take an inch off the top portion of the skirt, and an inch of the flare, to maintain the proportions. However, that's a very minor nitpick. I love this skirt.)

My fabric is a crushed silky looking light fabric (its not silk though, some synthetic), grey & white stripes, about $3 a meter at Fabricland? I used maybe a meter and a half.

My favorite parts of this skirt - the inside waistband finishing - finished with twill tape. Easy-peasy! And a very nice looking finish. Also using my rolled-hem foot to make the hem. Honestly! How did I live without this thing? (It sometimes doesn't work over a seam, but since this was very lightweight fabric, it worked perfectly.) No ironing, no fuss, and I was done hemming! Love my foot. (It isn't really a rolled hem foot though, since this isn't a rolled hem, is it? A very narrow hem foot, I'll call it that.)

Twill tape finish

And the easy hem.

As for the rest, here's where I am.


Top - McCall 4923
Top - Simplicity 4076
Skirt - Simplicity 3962

In varying stages of construction:

Jacket - BWOF 03-2008-117
Top - BWOF 03-2008-110
Skirt - Simplicity 3631

Worrying me, since they are completely uncut (and in the case of the BWOF skirt, untraced)

Pants - Simplicity 4135 (this is especially worrying since I need to underline these pants, and I've never done that before.)
Top - Butterick 4985
Skirt - BWOF 03-2008-114

Back to work...

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Stupidity of the day

I had a forehead-slapping moment this morning when I read this article on MSNBC:

‘Idol’ winners to appear on postage stamps
Fans will get a chance to lick all seven winners — in the form of a stamp

You can read the rest of this here.

Seriously. Lincoln, MLK and Kelly Clarkson? As a society, we seem to have collectively lost our minds.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Wardrobe contest, revisited...

Umm. Remember how I virtuously proclaimed I was going to sew from stash and not buy new fabric?

That didn't happen.

And now that I've only 20 days left, it makes perfect sense to join the wardrobe contest, doesn't it? 10 garments, 20 days? Nothing like a challenge to get the blood pounding?

I love my fabrics, though they didn't photograph well at all. And I actually managed to make one of the skirts last night, so I've only 9 things to do in 20 days. (So much more manageable. Yeah. Right.)

The colors are whites, greys, blacks and yellow to make things pop. I'm excited about this, I'm so ready for spring.

Wish me luck!

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Random things about me

Dawn tagged me a while back, and I've finally got around to doing this.

The rules: Link your tagger and list these rules on your blog. Share 7 facts about yourself on your blog, some random, some weird. Tag 7 people at the end of your post by leaving their names as well as links to their blogs. Let them know they are tagged by leaving a comment on their blog.

1. Its very hard for me to actually finish a sewing project. Part of it is that I'm a procrastinator, the other part is that I only tend to be interested until first fitting. Once I see how the garment will look on me, that's it. Not very interested any more. And it doesn't matter whether the garment looks good or not.

2. I'm vegetarian. (I'm pretty sure I've mentioned this before.) I grew up vegetarian, my parents, grand-parents, uncles, aunts all are vegetarian (this is pretty common in India.) I've only tasted meat by mistake (Pizza Hut, I'm hating you.)

3. I'm in a pool league. (Pool like billiards, not pool like swimming.) Its a lot of fun, but it pretty much sucks up an entire evening a week. (And puts me in bars where I'm very tempted to eat fries. Mmm. Fries, so yummy, so bad for me.)

4. Related to above, I can't swim. In fact, I've a phobia about putting my face under the water.

5. I like to make a huge production of my birthday. Not in the 'buy-presents-for-me' way, but in the must-spend-day-with-family-and-friends way. Last year, I took the day off work, went out for lunch with a friend, went thrifting all afternoon, hung out in a bookstore, and went out for dinner with more friends. It was such a fun day!

6. I've seen Indiana Jones & the Last Crusade over 10 times. I can recite whole portions of the movie. (Yes, this is sad.)

7. I once killed a cactus. No green thumb whatsoever.

Since I like pictures, and posts without pictures are a bit boring, here's one of me pretending to stab my birthday cake last year. Yes, I'm strange.

I'm not tagging anyone, but if you want to, please feel free to play!

Saturday, April 05, 2008

I need to learn to say NO

Remember how I hate quilting? (Not piecing the top, but the actual attach-3-layers-together process.)

Ahem. Mysteriously, I managed to find myself quilting a KING-size quilt for my mother's friend's birthday. (Do pause to consider the levels of separation here.) I'm still not quite sure how my mom talked me into this one.

This is what I've spent the last week on (while dreaming of sewing.)

The biggest reason I hate quilting is that I suck at it. When I quilt, I get these huge wrinkles and generally, lots of movement and ugliness. I used to think it was my walking foot. So, before the start of this project, I bought a new walking foot - designed for my machine (or so the guy in the store told me).

Yeah, not the walking machine.

This is, however, the best quilting job I've done (despite this close-up, which is frankly only one row.) And its because of a tip I found on the internet, which I will share here, since it changed my (quilting) life.

Adjust your presser foot pressure until you can quilt without the wrinkles forming.

That's it. That's what makes all the difference. Seriously. Try it. (Or if you are an experienced quilter, feel free to take a moment to marvel at how little I know.)

(I should mention, I guess, that my mom did all the work piecing the top, though I did help her cut a bit. And she bound three of the edges. Still. Quilt a king-size quilt? I'm so the best daughter ever.)

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

What I do with my scraps (and yes, you can call me insane)

I am a hoarder. Not compulsive, not yet at least. But I am incapable of tossing a piece of fabric that is larger than a 1/2 inch. (Yes, 1/2 inch. I know I'm crazy.)

Back in January, the fabric scrap was piling up. It had taken over the sewing room and occupied 3 big bags, threatening to spill over even further.

And so, I made a scrap quilt.

This kind of piecing is very freeing. There's no color scheme, no planning, nothing. I just pieced fabric together (knits, light-weight, heavy-weight, it didn't really matter), and squared all my blocks to be 10.5 inches square. Then, I added sashing and a border (which magically made this cohesive) and called it done.

Of course, since I loathe quilting with a passion, it has sat in the to-do pile ever since. I'm crazy busy in April, so perhaps in May, I'll take it out and finish it.

(Incidentally, this quilt reduced the scrap from 3 bags to 1 bag. However, the scrap is creeping up again - perhaps another quilt?)

(I was not joking about the 1/2 inch - this block is proof.)

Though this is a little insane, this kind of scrap quilt is true to the spirit of quilting. Women all over the world have recycled their fabric scrap, old clothes, you name it into scrap quilts whose only function was to provide warmth. I feel very pioneer.