Friday, February 25, 2011

I am insane!

Little logo on the right - the one that says Me-Made-March? Yes, I am insane.

I, Reethi of Weekend Crafting, sign up as a participant of Me-Made-March '11. I endeavour to wear all handmade and refashioned clothing each day for the duration of March 2011. I am excluding bras, socks, tights, shoes and outerwear (coats & jackets).

Doom. I sense it. Then again, I do like challenges.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Attempting a Frankenpattern - the finale

Yes, this was supposed to be done a week ago. There's a perfectly good reason for that - but I've whined enough about the situation to everyone who'll listen to me, and honestly, even I'm a bit sick of all the whining. Let's just say - unlike most times - this time, I had a good excuse.

Re: the dress - whoa! I really need to learn to make French seams accurately. I think I take in more from the side-seams than I should. This dress is tight! Like, unwearable tight. (It might also be a sign to lay off the chips and chocolate, and re-acquaint myself with my gym. I will choose to blame the French seams instead.)

Anyway - I took photos wearing it, mostly because hanger shots are boring. I'm not going to wear it anytime soon - not until I lose 10 pounds or so. (And it is short! But I'm cool with that, though it makes it non-work-appropriate.)

I made the sleeve view on the right, as you can see. Greater coverage seemed desirable, seeing how skimpy the rest of this dress is.

Apart from learning that I need to double-check my French-seams, what else did I learn on this project?

1. Measure joining seams. As I mentioned before, the waist width on the top pattern is very different from the waist width on the skirt. About a minute with a tape measure would have revealed this to me, but I was too impatient to get cutting.
2. Experiment! Patterns are a guide. You can do what you want. I'm not an expert by any means (see the measuring thing above) but I've put together a skirt and a top, I know how to do that, so a Frankenpattern isn't actually any more work.

Edited to add: A BHAG update - this was all from stash. The black & white fabric I bought 2 years ago? at Walmart. I used some cream cotton voile lining that I bought in India in Feb, 2010, and some lace for the inside hem that I've had forever. I feel pretty good about this.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Attempting a Frankenpattern - part 2

Summerset had some super-useful advice in response to my post yesterday - thanks, Summerset! I especially liked it because she didn't tell me to do a dart (I am very lazy, dear Readers...) and she thought I should just take the volume out at the side seams. Exactly what I wanted to do! I love when the lazy way is also the recommended way.

I had to work quite late yesterday, and therefore had to cancel my evening plans. I came home, indulged myself by eating some takeout pizza and drinking a glass of wine, and then got to work on the dress. (Yes, my refrigerator is overflowing with food, but I had a huge pizza craving!)

Here's what I got done:

- Trimmed the excess fabric in the top - both lengthwise to waist-level, and along the width at the side-seams to get it to fit my skirt.
- Basted the zipper, and tried on the dress (pinning the side-seams.) It seems to fit ok, though it's hard to tell precisely, since my spaghetti straps aren't in.
- Stitched the front top to the front skirt, and the back top to the back skirt. Seams are a bit more time-consuming, since my fabric frays, making French seams necessary.
- Stitched one side seam.

Tonight, I hope to get the following done:
- Stitch the other side seam.
- Decide what to do about the straps, and get them in. I'm vacillating between spaghetti straps in the fashion fabric or trying to draft up a wider sleeve (a sort of modified raglan sleeve?). I think the wider sleeve would give me more wearing options, and might make this work-appropriate, which would be good.
- Cut out the lining, and stitch (curse you, French seams.)

What do you think, dear Readers? The dress on the left, or the dress on the right (modified sleeves...)

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Attempting a Frankenpattern

Last night - I was determined I was going to sew something new and exciting.

I'm always inspired by bloggers who look at an item of clothing and replicate it with patterns they own - I adored Summerset's awesome version of an Anthropologie top! I wanted to try this approach.

I was going for a version of Elaine's Coffee-Date dress - but I was entirely too lazy to download, paste pages together, etc. So, I looked at a couple of patterns I own to loosely recreate the look.

The top - I used was Butterick 4987 - view C. I've made this before a couple of times. (Earlier version of View C.)

For the skirt, I pulled out my trusty Simplicity 4036 (I've made a zillion versions of this skirt.)

Basically, I was trying for something like this:

Umm, yeah. I cut out and basted my seams together, and uncovered a few problems. Aside from the fact that I don't know where my waist is, and the top was entirely too long - the biggest flaw here is that the top has a ton of ease built in around the waist, and the skirt is, of course, fitted at the waist. So - I have 6 excess inches of fabric. I'm trying to figure out if I should just adjust this at the side seams, or if it is worth adding a couple of darts for extra shaping. (But then, I'd have to mark the darts, and ensure the back top darts align with the skirt darts - a wee bit more complicated than I wanted.)

Still, salvageable. I should have an hour or so to work on it tonight - I'm hoping to get the fit adjusted, and get the zipper inserted. Tomorrow, I'll cut out the lining (gah, most hated task ever) and sew that. I'm aiming to have this dress done by Friday.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Then and now - my life before the Madhur Jaffrey project...

Read more here about the Madhur Jaffrey project - one of my 2010 goals. For an index of recipes, click here.

It's been a few months since I talked about cooking, but work continues on cooking this cookbook.

From Weekend crafting
Noodles with spinach and mung-bean sprouts (Jan 30, 2011)

Now, if you remember, I extended my deadline to July 1, 2011. And then, my life became crazy busy in Sept/Oct/Nov/Dec, and I barely cooked at all. Which means that I wasted away all my spare time, and I'm once again stuck with a ton of recipes to cook in a very short time. (To be specific, I have 200 recipes left to go, ~140 days to do it in.)

Which brings me to yesterday.

I'm not a morning person, by any means, but yesterday, I:

(1) woke up at 6.30 am.
(2) pulled all the ingredients for a couple of pickles together and started cooking them (frantic cooking!)
(3) looked at the refrigerator, realized my enoki mushrooms needed to be cooked - asap! - and make a soup from the book (the only reason I'm buying enoki mushrooms is the cookbook, sigh.)
(4) soaked chickpeas and wheatberries (again, bought only for the book)
(5) and then left for work.

In the evening, I came back from work, and:
(1) cursed a lot. :)
(2) made a miso soup from the book
(3) made two vegetable recipes from the book
(4) cooked up the chickpeas I'd soaked
(5) cleared up the disaster zone my kitchen had become
(6) and then went to bed.

Ok, fine, I also watched a couple of How I Met Your Mother episodes, and had time to cut out a skirt lining, but that's pretty much it.

I'm now fantasizing about the day this project will be done, and I can once again return to activities like waking up late, sitting on the couch, sewing, watching movies, reading books, and the like.

Monday, February 07, 2011

My BHAG - No Stash in 5 years

I'm assuming everyone is familiar with the concept of BHAGs . This weekend, I set myself one.

My BHAG - no stash in 5 years.

I know there's a wide range of opinions on stash. Some sewers love their stash - it inspires them. Other sewers confess each time they buy fabric, as if it were a bad thing.

Me personally - I have too much fabric. And the more fabric I have, the less I sew. Too many options are not a good thing, in my case.

So my goal - in 5 years, I'd like to either sew or give away all my fabric.

Ok, now for the small print: I'm defining stash as Apparel & Home Dec fabric. Quilting fabric is specifically excluded - I have loads of African quilting cottons, but I love those and they don't stress me out at all.

February 7, 2016 - here I come.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Pink Baby Quilt

What a bad blogger I am! Sigh.

A couple of Sundays ago, I looked at my massive, overflowing stash, and pulled out some random quilting cotton. Two football games later, here's my pink zigzag quilt top. It is very pink, it needs a border and quilting, but I still thought of it as a productive use of an afternoon.

This is a very simple pattern - a zig-zag with no triangles! Instructions here.

However, it does involve laying it all out on the floor before piecing the final bits, so you can make sure you get it right. Of course, the instant I did this, I had a little helper come to inspect.

She might have thought she was helping - but she most certainly wasn't. But, of course, like all devoted pet owners, instead of throwing her out of the room, I went for my camera to take a picture.

Now, to complete the rest of it!