Sunday, December 30, 2012

BWOF 11-2012-136A - the last project for 2012?

I'm hoping not, though this indeed might be it for 2012 sewing - I work a half-day tomorrow, there's new year eve festivities planned in the evening, and I've a maximum of 2 free hours in between.

Yes indeed, I do have a giant pink flower on my breast.

Before I left for Germany, one evening, I pulled out the November 2012 issue of Burda Style, traced out the 136A top, and sewed it up. The fabric was part of a G-Street haul two years ago. Like everyone else who has made this top up, I raised the side seam to close the arm hole a bit.

Unlike other quick and easy projects that haven't worked well, I'm pretty happy with how this one turned out. I desperately need tops - they are a big wardrobe hole. Burda Style has been drafting a bunch of easy, yet interesting top patterns that I've been meaning to make, and I'm glad I got to this one.

I'm showing off my Christmas decor. Notice my top matches my awesome pink feather tree in the background.

I've another version cut up - watch for that in 2013!

Top 3 Misses!

In the next installment of Gillian's Top 5 list making, the Top 5 Misses of 2012.

Honestly, I've got to say, I didn't really sew enough this year to have much to say in this category. I mean, there's always things that I sew that don't work out, but that's just par for the course. That being said, here are some big misses for the year.

1. Ridiculous and fluctuating weight issues. I'm short. Which means - a 5lb gain shows. It also means, a 5lb weight gain makes my clothes not fit right. A ton of sewing issues this year can be blamed on this category. Case in point, this pair of pants, which is actually pretty well sewn, and still hasn't been worn.

2. Another theme that I have to guard against in 2013 - sewing something that I think will be quick and easy, because I don't want to start a major project. Some quick and easy projects do lead to good results, of course, but more often than not, there are disasters. Projects that I know will most likely not work, but I still sew, because I'm looking for quick and easy. Like said monstrosity below.

3. Sewing things with no consideration of my lifestyle. I live in Toronto, I grew up in South India. This really means I'm cold all the time, which means that a short sleeve jacket is close to useless in my actual life. My cream Simplicity 2443 Jacket - well stitched though it is - has never been worn. (I still hold out hope for it though, next summer maybe.)

There's probably others that don't get worn a lot, but these are the biggies!

Friday, December 28, 2012

And done!

Dear readers, I've been really busy the last couple of days, making the final adjustments to my first quilt pattern (woo hoo!), coming up with a company name, figuring out yardage requirements, and adding a second sizing option. Whoa! Lots of good stuff, I'm pretty stoked!

All of this means, I think I'm ready to publish it. For the moment, I'm thinking Craftsy and Etsy. There's a bit of logistics stuff to figure out - Paypal accounts, blah blah, but I'm hoping to put the pattern up in 2012. (Three days, Reethi - get to it!)

I was incredibly embarrassed by how lame my original pattern name was - so much so, I'm not even going to tell you what it was. Trust me, it was the lamest thing ever. And therefore, many, many thaks to Kay, Jean and Sophie for your suggestions for pattern names. All your entries inspired the final name. Kay's comment about "No Start, No End" prompted me to think of the concept of Infinity. I loved both Connections and Pathways - in the end, I went with Pathways, but I'm holding on to Connections! I think it'll come in handy for the next kolam-based quilt.

Enough talking Reethi - let's get to the picture, shall we? Here's the cover page of the pattern, featuring my mom's completed quilt top. (Well, she still needs to attach a border, but I got impatient.)

Kay, Jean, Sophie, I'll send you the pattern if I have your email address. If I don't, will you send it to me, please? And of course, if you do make it, I'd love to see pictures. Though there are a lot of steps, the quilt is easy enough to sew - it's all squares and rectangles, no curves, no triangles.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Top 5 Favorite Creations of 2012

Rather late to the game (I just got back from vacation yesterday!), I'm joining Gillian's Top 5 list making.

Here are my top 5 favorite makes of 2012. (In no particular order!)

1. My first version of Butterick 5006. I love this dress - I love the fabric, I love the fit, I pretty much love everything about it. The sleeves make it easy for me to wear in winter when I want to get dressed up - I just layer a top underneath, a cardi over, and warm tights, and I'm good to go. (A bit cold, but hey, one must suffer for beauty.)

I've made two other versions of this dress, and I'm plotting another version soon.

2. My green and purple Vogue 1179. Again, a dress that got a ton of wear during summer. Plus, it worked great for fat days - the pleating hides a multitude of sins.

3. My hoodie. I've worn this nearly non-stop in spring and fall since I've made it. It's practical and useful and I love it.

4. Vogue 8667 - birthday dress. This dress was great - I made it for my birthday, but I also wore it a ton of times to work over the summer. It made me feel instantly dressed up and pulled together.

5. My grey pants. Like the hoodie, I've worn these pants a ton of times since I've made them. They are my favorite self-made pants, I absolutely adore them. Plus, the grey is a nice versatile colour to pair things with - practically anything matches these pants.

While I was significantly less productive in 2012 than 2011, I think I got more wear out of most of my garments in 2012. I did sew simple pieces, mostly, but I also felt like I understood my style better, and am now mostly making things I know I'll get good wear out of.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

A very neon version of McCalls 5752

I've decided I hate ruching.

Catching up on old sewing projects, this dress was one I worked on over the summer. I hated sewing it - the ruching took forever, and it didn't really work - the gathers hung loose and looked messy. Since then, I've sort of made my peace with this dress, I still don't love it, but it isn't all bad.

If I were to sew it again, I'd also shorten the bodice a bit - there's some bodice gaping that I think would be fixed quite simply. (Of course, I could just unpick a few seams, but let's just be realistic and say that that won't happen.) And the ruching - I'd either just leave it out, or build some negative ease into it - a lot of the problems I had with the gathers not quite sitting right would have been solved by negative ease.

Monday, December 10, 2012

In-Process: My mom's kolam quilt

My mom brought her in-process quilt top to show me over the weekend, and I can't resist sharing this photo. I'm loving how this one's shaping up!

Sunday, December 09, 2012

A mini-make

I'm going on vacation in a few days, and I've been reluctant to start a major project before leaving. I needed a little make - one that would hopefully turn out better than the striped-t-shirt-from-hell.

In true packrat tradition - I hate throwing out my scraps. I've whole bagfuls of scrap.

The third element in this story - a Kwik-Sew panty pattern (2467) that was in a pattern bundle given to me by a friend.

And thus, the next make became clear - panties made from knit scraps. Quick and easy.

Or so it would have been, had my machine cooperated at all. But it was snarly and spit out thread in all directions, and we had a bit of a contest of wills - would I give up and throw the panties in the dustbin, or would I persist, even though my thread was snapping every inch?

I won, sort of, in the end. I have a completed pair of panties. They aren't pretty, snarls of thread and fabric are everywhere, and for months into the future, I'll be picking out thread from my... - well, you get the picture - but hey, they are done, the panties fit quite well - right size, good coverage, comfortable, and I'm quite pleased.

I made a size M. I took out 1.5 inches from the length at the outset, and further trimmed another 2 inches from the waist once the leg elastic was in, and I could try them on. As designed, these are very high waisted, but with the trimming, they now come upto my belly button. On the next go-around, I'll trim another inch or two out again, to get it to be still lower on my waist. 

Thursday, December 06, 2012

A story about a quilt

This entry doesn't have anything to do with garment sewing. 

Chennai, where I grew up, is hot and dusty. Our floors were mosaic, and they were swept and mopped twice a day to keep the endless dust at bay.

Once the sweeping and mopping of the inside of the house was done, attention would be transferred to the veranda. It would also be swept and washed down, and then, while the concrete was still wet, a small kolam would be quickly drawn at the entryway to the house.

With a small handful of rice flour, the dots that acted as the grid would be laid out. Then, depending on the mood of the kolam maker, either a simple monochrome kolam would emerge, or a complex multi-coloured work of art. It was the most transient of art forms - people would walk on the kolam, disrupting the pattern, and even if we all avoided smearing the kolam, the veranda would be washed and the kolam redrawn the next morning or afternoon.

When I started quilting, I fantasized about a 'kolam' quilt, and wanted to replicate the patterns I'd seen as a child. This thought has remained in the back of my mind for many years, and I'm pleased to say, I've finally brought this to life.

For the last few months, I've been drawing kolam patterns on a grid, trying to map it out into a quilt pattern. About a week ago, I sent a completed set of instructions to my mother, my cousin and my aunt - and asked them to test the instructions for me.

Et voila! My aunt, who is a speedy and experienced quilter sent me these pictures this morning.

I'm beyond thrilled.

My mom's working on her quilt right now - her quilt is in the more traditional black & white. If all goes well with the two versions, I'll upload the quilt pattern for sale in Etsy as a downloadable pattern.

Now, if you've read the entire bit, I've a request. I need a name for this quilt pattern. Any suggestions? Please leave me a comment! (I'll sweeten the pot a wee bit - if I pick your name, I'll send you the downloadable pattern. I'll also select 2 other random comments to send a free pattern to.)

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

One striped mess

Way back in the time tunnel (August, I think?) - I'd just moved into my house - the sewing room was in an uproar, and I desperately needed to sew. And so, I pulled out McCalls 6400 - previously made here, decided that a fabric with stripes would be *interesting*, and got to work.

End result - this hot mess, that I've only worn underneath cardigans, for fear of being laughed off the face of the planet.

This fabric actually shows all the fit issues that I had with my first version. Most frustratingly, a pleat of fabric seems to have formed under my right breast, and I have to keep tugging it down. It's a bit snug at the hip, so I'm not sure if that's why - it could also be somehow grain-related - the top keeps twisting on itself as well. Let's just say hot mess and leave it at that, shall we?

It's a huge pity though - this fabric would have been the most awesome striped t-shirt, or a cardigan or something. Wadders suck.

Saturday, December 01, 2012

Butterick 5206 - the first version

Fabric stashes are funny. Sometimes, I remember the provenance of every piece of fabric - other times, not so much. I found the fabric for this dress in my stash - and I had absolutely no idea where or when I bought it. (If that's not a hint that I need to stop buying fabric - I don't know what is.*)

Anyway - this was the first version of Butterick 5206. I love this dress - I've already worn it ~5 times - and would wear it more, but I'm a wimp about wearing dresses and skirts in winter. 

There are two things of note in the construction. The first is the neck and back binding - I ignored the directions that would have you cut a knit fabric on bias. Instead, I cut a strip of fabric on lengthwise grain, folded it in half along the long edge, stitched that to the *wrong* side of the neck, and then flipped it over, and top stitched from the right side. (I forgot to take pictures - hope that made sense.) This gave me a very lovely professional-looking finish. The bias would have been a disaster. (Seriously, Butterick?)

The second was the sash. The directions have you attach it to the waist, and then wrap it around. I thought the dress would be more versatile if the sash wasn't attached. However, the wrong side of the sash kept showing, and since this knit fabric has a very prominent wrong side, I cut two pieces out for the sash, and sewed them together to eliminate the problem of the wrong side showing.

I've a bit of a hankering to sew one more version of this dress - however, I have plenty of *necessary* sewing, and I think I might get to that instead.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Finishing an old UFO

Dear readers - I'm sure that most sewists have UFOs lurking in their closets. But I think it's safe to say that I take it to a whole new level of laziness and procrastination. These pants have been sitting in the UFO pile for almost a year, simply because I needed to sew a hook and eye and a button to fasten the pants. I'm serious. Everything else was done - the zipper was in, the cuffs were finished - everything except a freaking hook and eye that took me less than 5 minutes to do today.

I think atleast a little of the procrastination was due to the fact that these pants are slightly too tight on me. But still.

These are the same pattern as my SWAP pants - basically, an old RTW pants that I traced out. Apart from the too tight bit - I'm reasonably happy with the fit - there's a bit of wrinkling around the crotch and the fly front, but the back's pretty good. Atleast a bit of that wrinkling has to do with operator error - I'm still to figure out the ideal way to stitch lined fly fronts.

Excuse the wrinkling - the pants have been sitting in the UFO pile for close to a year. 

I'm currently in the midst of cutting out a jacket. It's been trying. The fabric is very prone to distortion, and I think I'll need to interface the entire jacket to give it some stability. Of course, I don't have enough interfacing, so cutting and sewing is a bit stalled. Hopefully, a bit of time over the weekend to buy some interfacing, and I can get to work - I'm looking forward to the challenge of sewing a lined jacket.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

SWAP 2013 - Initial thoughts

Here's some stream-of-consciousness thoughts.

- I sew lots and lots of simple clothes. For this SWAP, I'd like to challenge myself and sew more complicated things - lined jackets, shirts with collars and buttons and sleeve plackets, lined pants - that kind of thing.
- I did my wardrobe transition (winter clothes brought up, summer clothes put away), and sheesh! I have lots and lots of summer dresses, and hardly any winter clothes. I'm pretty much wearing the same set of 4-5 RTW winter pants I've been wearing for the last 5 years. All of them are just about worn out - I desperately need to sew myself replacements.
- I hate cutting. But - largely - that's cause I have a terrible cutting set up. I cut on my dining table - placing two cutting mats side by side, and cutting with a rotary cutter. For pattern weights, I use rolls of pennies, which unfortunately, roll around, fall on the floor, break open, strewing pennies everywhere... I do own a proper full size cutting mat, but it's in my parents' basement. Now that I have room for it, I need to just bring it to my house and set it up.
- Burda. I need to use the patterns, or stop buying the magazines. Same goes for my new copies of Drape Drape & Shape Shape, my Pattern Magic books, and all the other assorted sewing books that I buy and don't use.

So - all of that stuff is influencing the wardrobe plan.

Basically, the rules this year are:

- to make two 4 or 5 piece collections, with a single other garment that can be worn with both capsules. 

Each collection is either 3 tops and two bottoms, or 2 tops, 1 bottom, and 1 dress, which all form a cohesive group.  The 11th garment should be a jacket or other piece that coordinates with both collections, both in style and color.

Which is simple enough.

Here's what I think I'd like to make.

- 4 bottoms - all of which are lined pants. I'm ok using the same pattern for all of them - but I really need pants!
- 2 sets of twinsets. (I'm not really sure if I that will count as 4 pieces - there's something in the discussion threads about whether a jacket is a top - and the ruling is that it is not - which suggests the same logic will apply to my cardigan portion of my twin-sets. However, I do need these for the wardrobe, and so will make them anyway - and have the inner shell count as a top.)
- I might make a cream collection - and if so, I'd like to make a white/cream winter lined dress. Just a basic woven sheath dress with sleeves.
- Raincoat. I need one. Also a fall/spring jacket, and a trench coat, etc. I need to start sewing more outer pieces - I'd get a lot of use out of them, and I'm not sure why I don't sew more of these (laziness about cutting is atleast part of the answer.)

That's not quite everything I need to make - but it's a start. The thinking process will undoubtedly evolve as time goes on.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Mu-mu time!

Sentiment is widely against this 'before' dress, dear Readers. My parents winced, my brother looked aghast - it's not a popular dress. I think it's rather perfect for the Pattern Review Refashion contest that I'm hoping to enter.

Interestingly, this dress is hand-made. I feel good about using it as an ingredient in my own hand-made dress.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Butterick 5206 - So nice, I made it thrice!

This is my third version of Butterick 5206.

Dear readers, I love this pattern. I really, really do. It sews up easy, it has sleeves, the neckline is flattering, it's easy to wear, I love everything about it.

Version 1 was a dark print. Version 2 was a black solid - which unfortunately has a big fabric fade right in the middle of the skirt. I'm planning on dyeing it though - it is super flattering, and I want it to work.

This light print is version 3. I've had this fabric in stash for atleast 3 years - I think it was a Fabricland buy. I didn't have enough fabric to make the sash (which is a serious fabric hog), so I left it out, and am wearing it with a store bought belt.

I made my usual modifications - I shortened the bodice by an inch, and the skirt by a bit to get it to hit right about at the knee.

Pattern instructions - a bit silly, really - they wanted me to bind the edge with knit bias binding. Umm - it's a knit. It really doesn't need to be cut on the bias. I used a strip cut from straight grain (the less stretchy side), folded the strip into half, and then sewed the raw edge of the strip to the wrong side of the fabric - then flipped it to the front, and top-stitched on the right side. This way is much better, really, if I say so myself.

Once summer rolls around, I'll definitely made the short sleeve version! Probably, many times!

Now, for a spot of UFO finishing. An easy one - all I have to do is hem! 

Monday, November 05, 2012

SWAP 2013 - the rules are here!

Yes! I've been impatiently lurking the Stitcher's Guild SWAP boards for about a month and a half, and the rules are finally out!

As much as sewing a SWAP wardrobe gets tiring, the clothes I make there really do get used. I've worn my hoodie heaps of times,  my purple flowered dress became one of my most-used summer dresses, especially to work, and my pants! It's been cold here, and I've been reaching for these lined pants every other day, practically.

Which makes me pretty excited about another SWAP. Wardrobe holes - lined pants, lined sleeved dresses, fun little tops - all of these can be filled by the SWAP.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Thanks Kay! (And more shopping...)

Kay kindly alerted me to the fact that Craftsy had some classes I'd be interested in if I wanted to solve the pants fitting thing.

And also, classes are on sale! Most of their classes seem to be $15.

A few clicks later, here's what I bought! Pants, pants, and a quilting class, just to mix it up.

Which means I know what project I'll be working on next.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Sewing books!

When I first starting sewing, I think I gave myself a monthly sewing allowance of $100 - an amount I've rarely spent (mostly because $100 is a lot of money - especially when you buy cheap fabric and buy your patterns on sale.)

However, I'm well on my way to hit it this month - I just placed an Amazon order that was sewing-book heavy. (I'm bummed to note that I evidently forgot to place the Collette sewing book in my cart - aargh. I meant to order it.)

What did I get? Both the Drape Drape books (1 and 2), Pattern Magic 3, and Shape Shape (inspired entirely by Carolyn's many beautiful projects from this book.)

The package should be delivered Monday, yay!

Now to go actually make something, to make up for all these indulgent purchases!

(Dress update: My dress is done! I love the pattern so much, I actually cut out another version while I had it out. Which I hope to sew tonight/tomorrow night. Photos will follow - maybe even today, if the rain lets up.)

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Blue pants - Simplicity 3850

Pants are my biggest wardrobe hole, and while it's easy to avoid wearing pants in the summer, as the weather gets cooler, I find myself wishing I sewed more of them. And therefore, when I was looking for something to sew, I dug deep in the pattern stash to find Simplicity 3850.

The fabric is a pale blue stretch denim-ish cotton. It was a gift from a friend. For the longest time, I've been uncertain of what I'd actually do with this fabric - it isn't really the type of thing I'd pick out for myself, but I decided that a wearable muslin of Simplicity 3850 was a perfectly good use for it.

I cut a size 12, but was still nervous that the pants might be too tight. (Weight gain is a bitch.) So, I sewed  my side and inner leg seams as 1/4 inch seams, vs. the 5/8" the pattern is drafted for. The pants are therefore a tad too loose, but that might be the stretch as well.

The instructions are ok, I did follow them for the fly front, since I couldn't be fussed to find the simpler, Sandra Betzina set.

After all that, what do I think?

Pros: I used some fabric, I made pants, these fit ok in the front.
Cons: The fit on the back isn't great, and I need to keep hitching them up, it is too loose at the waist and hip. Also, about an inch too short.

Still, it got me back to sewing and blogging, and that's pretty awesome. And I would make these pants again, with the proper seam allowances and with a no-stretch fabric.

Incidentally, readers, if you know things about pant fitting - I will be everlastingly grateful if you leave me comments telling me what I'm doing wrong - the back fit is not ideal, and looking at the front pictures, there's some wrinkling there too! 

Up next, a mock-wrap dress with 3/4 sleeves - already cut out, and a free evening tomorrow to sew them up, hopefully. Yes!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

What seems to be my monthly catch-up post

Well, hello again, everyone.

Ok - my life is showing very slow signs of getting back to normal. With the advent of Fall, the lawn-mowing and gardening bits slow down somewhat, and spare evenings suddenly start making their appearance.

I had one such spare evening last night - I actually had a 2 hour block to sew. Yes!

I'm working on a pair of Built By Wendy pants in a stretch denim-like fabric that is - rather unfortunately - sky blue. Still, coloured pants are "in", no? It's more a muslin.

I've been working on these pants, off and on, for about a month now. (Sigh.) Last night, the pants were complete to the point where I could try it on - and lo-and-behold - they fit. The fit isn't great - but it works. (Pale blue shows every single wrinkle though.)

They are actually a bit loose - I've been putting on weight, and so I made a size 12, and reduced the seam allowances to 1/4 inch on the side seams, all to guarantee that the pants will fit. The stretch on the fabric helps too, of course. They feel a bit loose at the waist now, but I'm going to hold off from fiddling with it for a bit. 

My next free bit of time is Sunday - and I'm hoping to find another 2 hour bit of time to finish the pants then.

I also pulled out a pattern for the next project. I'm going to make a knit wrap dress. I usually tend to fail at wrap dress making - the neckline is always too low/gapes/needs a cami underneath. However, long-sleeved knit dresses are useful in winter, plus, honestly, my weight is so all over the place that I'm very leery of making something woven and have it not fit in a month.

I do think the weight gain is a bit part of what's keeping me from sewing. The pants I made back in February are a bit too tight, and it's seriously frustrating to pour hours of sewing into something, and then not have it fit. It's all my fault, of course - hello, sedentary lifestyle, laziness, ice-cream, take-out and beer - but still, frustrating.

My camera batteries are still dead - I think this set has lived out its life, and I need to go buy new rechargeable batteries. But hopefully, on Sunday, there will actually be a picture of a pant.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

It isn't much...

but given that I've barely touched my sewing machine in the last three months, attaching the binding on this quilt feels like victory.

Apologies for the crappy camera phone pictures. The good news is that I've found my camera and my tripod. Camera batteries are charging, there's hope yet for proper blog content.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Could it be...

- Sewing machine back? Yup.
- Free evening today? Yup again.
- Household chores to do? Probably, but I'm good at ignoring them.

Could sewing happen tonight? Keeping fingers crossed!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Hello there!

I decided that if I wait until (a) I have spare time, (b) my camera is charged, (c) I have something to show, it'd probably be another 2 months before I'd post.

So, here's a picture-less post.

Dear readers, my life is always a little busy (all self-imposed), but in the last few months, extra-busy-crazy! Here's why:

- I bought a house. Umm yeah. After 18 years of renting, I finally took the plunge and bought a wee little house. For those that know, Toronto real estate prices are absolutely insane - and this feels like a very big deal. I moved in at the end of July/start of August, and the house is still standing. (This is my measure.)

- The house comes with a back yard and a pocket-sized front yard. The front yard has a lawn. I now need to mow a lawn? And garden? Dear readers, I am becoming my parents.

- It felt like I was on vacation most of June. (This isn't true, I was away for two weeks, but there's all kinds of catch-up stuff after you go on vacation - busy!)

- It felt like I was packing all of July, in anticipation of the move. Aargh. I didn't declutter at all, so now I have a basement stuffed to the gills with unpacked boxes. (Including some fabric, groan!)

- In between that, there were cottage weekends, weddings of friends, camping trips, one very big house-warming party...

- Oh, and I have a friend staying at my place for the next three months.

Let's talk instead about sewing, shall we?

- I sort-of finished a dress. I wore it out, but decided I needed to do something clever about the midriff ruching, since it puddles unattractively right now - not quite what I was going for. But it's almost done!

- I have a sewing room! Other people might call this a guest room. (It's really the size of a generous closet.) But I have it! Even though I haven't been in it at all, I'm delighted about this.

- Oh, the last Fabricland to be subway accessible (York Mills Center) shut down at the end of July. This was not good, I was rather unhappy about this. But on the bonus side, they were selling their pattern cabinets at a pretty deep discount, and I bought one! Yay! Instant pattern storage solution for $50. (Side story - the pattern cabinet is 75% full. I could run a store out of my house. How many patterns do I have! Aargh.)

- Due to all the moving busyness, my sewing machine is off to be serviced. I have an old one I'm using as a spare, but I prefer mine. Hopefully, my sewing machine will be back this weekend.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Hello, blog!

So I realized it had been close to a month since my last post. Hello, blog! 

I wish I had something sewing related to share, but no sewing has been happening. Instead and better, I'm on vacation. A week in Porto, Portugal - just lovely! 

Sewing will happen when I return though - there's a half-finished dress on my dining table. 

Friday, May 25, 2012

Vogue 1179 - Probably the easiest dress in the world!

Ok, how awesome is this dress! I opened the pattern envelope and pulled the uncut pattern out at 7.30pm yesterday - by 11.00pm, I was completely done sewing this dress. And I'm a distracted sewist - in between, I watched bits of TV, played with Biscuit, checked email, blah, blah.

3 pattern pieces. Very little fitting required. Nice and roomy, but yet not 'when are you due?'. I love this dress.

- I bought the fabric on my recent trip to New York Easter weekend. I was originally thinking a wrap dress, but that would have been more complicated fitting, and I wasn't in the mood for that. It is some kind of synthetic knit - $4 a yard, I think. (I think I bought it at Chic Fabrics, on W38? 39?)

- I didn't pay attention to fabric placement on the back, otherwise, I'd have centered the print. Meh.

- Yes, I realize this is not on my May sewing list. Bad Reethi.

Monday, May 21, 2012

I made PJs!

Ok, the excitement of the title is probably unwarranted.

But, after the intensity of the jacket, I needed a bit of a palette cleansing project, if you will. Uncomplicated sewing was in order.

Of course, I could have just pulled out anything and started sewing, but since I had a list, I pulled it out, and looked, and the PJs got made.

The fabric is one of the oldest in my stash, it dates back to the days I lived in Michigan. I didn't really even sew garments then, and I'm pretty sure I didn't have a project in mind when I bought it. However, it really is *perfect* for PJs, no?

The pattern is the same as before, New Look 6523. 2 pattern pieces, easy-peasy. 2 hours of work and I was done.

While I'm pretty happy with the PJs, I'm not sure about the palette-cleansing bit. I had the entire weekend to sew, dear Readers, and I regret to say that I didn't sew at all. Instead, I cooked, read a book, and did nothing. I seldom give myself permission to do nothing, and it felt weird. Long weekend's now over, and I feel a teensy-bit irresponsible, which is totally ridiculous, of course. Enough, I say!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Sewing pattern review - Simplicity 2443 Jacket

I'm too much of a beer snob to drink Blue - it's a friend's cooler. 

While I've had Simplicity 2443 in my pattern collection for a while, the Best Of pattern contest really made me pull it out and get to work on it.

Here's some stream-of-consciousness-thoughts:

- I cut a size 10 shoulders, sleeves, and graded to a 12 at the waist.

- For a change, since this is a project that's above my typical skill level, I read the instructions, and followed along. The instructions were in general, quite good. If I make this jacket again, I'd only deviate from the instructions for the pockets - I'd cut a template out of cardboard, and steam my fabric around the template, to get even pockets. (Mine are reasonably wonky. It's all part of the charm.)
Close up of front
Close up of front
- And the plackets. The instructions there were really, really indecipherable. After trying the Simplicity method and failing horribly (hello, seam ripper!) I used this method described by Gigi instead. My fabric was a bit thick for this, and had I not been in a hurry, I'd have tried a third way, but it works, and the jacket's done, and that's what's important.
Placket close up

Placket close up
- Inside seam finishes - I kept it simple, and just serged exposed seams. Works fine!

- The fabric is from the stash, a gift from my aunt. It's kind of linen looking, but it is thicker, and more upholstery weight. It is perfect for an unlined jacket, thick enough to provide warmth.

- I'd neglected to take my fabric along when buying ribbon - so my ribbon was white, while my fabric was cream. Aargh. I'd a moment of sheer angst, and then, I remembered that I could tea-dye it. One cup of strong tea later, the ribbons match great.
- I really, really need top-stitching practice. The pockets? Not the best sewing in the world.

- I love the sleeve length, and the d-rings and cuffs add a trace of fancy without too much extra work.

- This is a pretty complicated project for me. The contest deadline kept me going (just in time, eeks!), but if it weren't for the contest, I'd have been tempted to stop lots of times. I'm glad I stuck to it though, this is a great jacket in a neutral basic, and I'll get lots of use out of it.

In conclusion: One off the list for May, woo hoo, and I just realized, this jacket is cream, and works for the 6-PAC as well. I love when that happens.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

A quick, slightly bad photo of my new jacket

I'll update tomorrow with better photos, and a sewing description....

Monday, May 14, 2012

I love outsourcing!

Outsourcing my quilting, I mean.

Once again, I sent off a quilt top to be quilted, and lo-and-behold, like magic, it came back all done.

At the time, I was a little meh about the quilt top, but wow, it looks amazing! I'm pleased as punch.

I still need to bind it, of course, but binding a quilt is relatively easy. I foresee only a few months of procrastination.

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

Sewing plans for May

I'm one of those people that love to plan - lists are my favorite things! (Executing these plans - that's a different matter entirely.)

Anyhoo, there's a couple things I'd like to participate in the next few months, plus a vacation I'd like to sew for, etc. Plans seemed to be a good thing...

Here's the list:

1. PatternReview Contest - BestPatterns contest. I'm planning on sewing Simplicity 2443 - the very cool Cynthia Rowley jacket, in a cream/beige solid. (Fabric from stash, a gift from my aunt. Thanks, Chandrama!)

Best of Patterns 

The deadline: May 15. (Umm, get going, Reethi.)

2. PatternReview Contest - One Yard Challenge. During PR Weekend in Montreal (way back in 2009, I believe, gulp!), I bought this gorgeous green fabric with bright pink flowers on it, expressly to make a simple skirt. The fabric was $17 a yard, and I therefore only bought a yard. I'm going to sew it on the cross-grain. I'm searching for the perfect pattern for this - I'd like a minimum of seams, so as to not break the pattern up.

 The One Yard Challenge

The deadline: Also May 15. (I guess I know exactly what I'm doing this weekend.)

3. The 2012 Summer 6PAC Seasonal Collection Sew-Along is intriguing. I'm going to use whites and beiges as my two basic colours, I think. Related to this, I'll be sewing...

4. I've told myself the only way I can buy a June Burda Style magazine is to sew one thing from the May issue, and one from the April issue. For May, I want to sew pattern 127 - it's a jacket, in a white eyelet (possibly underlined to give it a bit of structure.)

5. And from the April issue, the cool sailor pants. (I can't be bothered to navigate the increasingly piss-poor Burda web pages. Burda's one of the few companies whose web presence seems to get worse over time, not better. Its rather staggering in it's complete lack of functionality.) The sailor pants - I'm thinking in a white linen-looking fabric.

6. If I magically find spare time after all of this, I'd like to sew a cream cardigan and a cream inner shell. My fabric is wool, which might be a bit warm for May, but (a) Toronto weather is unpredictable, (b) my store-bought cardigans are crying to be replaced and (c) I need to use the stash!.

4, 5 and 6 will work with the constraints of the 6PAC sew along. 

7. Also, if I magically find time, another pair of PJs. I've been living in the pair I made for the PJ Party, I love it to death, and making another one sounds lovely!

Ahem. Well, I'm certainly ambitious, right? 8 items, 20 days? Sweet, crazy Reethi.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

SWAP 2012 - All Done!

Of course, I finished sewing by the end of April, but I made my mom take all my photos yesterday. She did a great job! I sent off my email with all my pictures, and now I'm done!

My SWAP was really a rather meandering path - I had ambitious plans to make a raincoat, a suit jacket, and other such items. I did have to downgrade the ambition, but I kept consistent with my overall goal, to make wardrobe basics that would match well with many other items in my wardrobe, and wouldn't end up as orphans. I made 2 t-shirts and 2 blouses - I'd determined at the start of the year that I was quite short of tops. I also made 2 pants (another key wardrobe need), and 2 dresses. For the remainder 3 pieces, I made 1 button-down shirt, 1 jacket (my hoodie), and used a black cardigan (overshirt) as my  pre-made piece (it was made sometime last spring.)

In general, I find it pretty difficult to stick with a sewing plan, and this was no exception. But, I've done a wardrobe once before - almost 4 years ago, when I first started to sew, and there are pieces from that effort that still exist in my wardrobe. I know - painful though it is when I want to sew a summery dress - basics are what I need - pretty counts, but having something to wear is key. Especially in my life - I work for a large corporation - vintage inspired dresses aren't going to cut it at work.

And now the pictures! 

Monday, May 07, 2012

Me-Made-May '12 - the first week

A week of Me-Made-May, and I only took one sucky (by my admittedly low standard) picture. Go me!

Day 1 (Tuesday): Big work meeting, so I dressed "corporately". (I need to start making jackets, sheesh. Cardigans aren't really corporate enough for meeting the super higher-ups.) In the evening, I traded the pumps for black boots, added my hoodie for extra warmth, and headed to play trivia with friends. (A standing Tuesday night tradition.)

The dress is BWOF 09-2010-122. The cardigan is McCalls 5890.

Day 2 (Wednesday): Just a regular work day - I still need to be business-casual, but felt ok about adding colour. To work, I wore the blue shirt and the grey pants. In the evening, I was going to scope out a neighborhood I'm thinking of moving to, so I grabbed my hoodie and a scarf for warmth, and headed out. 

I"m wearing my Blue BWOF 09-2007-101 t-shirtgrey pants (copied from an RTW pair), my McCalls 4261 hoodie, and am carrying this scarf (it's hard to see in the picture though, but it's in my hand.) 

Day 3 (Thursday): Another work day, this time though, I think I was super-casual. (Bad Reethi.) I didn't really go out in the evening - my parents came over bringing birthday cake, I was already in my pjs, and so, I cut birthday cake in pjs. Which is pretty sweet, really. (Elastic is especially useful if you are eating massive amounts of cake.) 

Day 4 (Friday): I woke up at 3.00am to catch a 6.30am flight to Florida - a really good friend was getting married in Tampa. On the plane, I was wearing my Day 7 outfit and my hoodie. Once I got there though, there was a pre-wedding dinner, and I changed into a Butterick 4443 dress for that.

Day 5 (Saturday): Ok, this is my low-effort photo. There were meals with friends, there was catching up to do, and in the middle of all that, a photo for Me-Made-May just didn't really seem that important. I took this photo of a Simplicity 3503 dress in my hotel room right before I was going to shower and change into this McCalls 4444 dress for the wedding.

Day 6 (Sunday): Brunches, beaches, breweries, and the new Avenger movie. This was a good day. I made up for yesterday's photo by actually asking a friend to take my photo - on the beach. I didn't really want to leave. I'm wearing the dress I made for this year's birthday - Vogue 8667.

Day 7 (Monday): Reality intruded - mini-vacation over, I flew back to Toronto. Anything I wear on a plane is always chosen for comfort - this outfit included. (I've still resisted wearing PJs in public - but if there's ever a public place I'd want to wear pjs - it'd be a plane.)

I'm wearing my BWOF 06-2011-114 pants and an old Simplicity 2938 flowered shirt.

And that was my first week of Me-Made-May '12. How was yours?